The power of the pause is a simple technique for being calm and less reactive with your spouse, your kids, your friends, your parents, the noisy neighbor, and the adorable teenager who refuses to clean out his car, etc.
Let’s say something happens that gets your temperature up! Someone says or does something annoying, disrespectful, oblivious … Oops sorry, I got carried away.
Anyway, you’re upset. Maybe your blood is starting to boil …
The moment this happens, use the power of the pause:
1. Think PAUSE – Just stop. This simple and seemingly tiny act of bravery is larger than you think. BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW IT’S REALLY HARD TO PAUSE WHEN OUR JUICES ARE FLOWING!
Pausing gives us a chance to slow down.
If your knee jerk reaction is to overreact, then pausing is a triumph in and of itself.
2. NAME WHAT YOU’RE FEELING AND BREATHE – Simply notice what you’re feeling and name it. For example: I’m mad. I am hurt. I feel like crying. (Said to yourself or out loud.)
3. Keep breathing deeply and gently until you feel better and calm enough to address the situation.
Dr. Dan Siegel, a professor of psychiatry at the UCLA school of medicine, coined the phrase: Name it To Tame it … in the brain.
NAME IT TO TAME IT
He teaches parents how to coach their children when the children are upset.
The principles apply to adults as well. When we name an emotion, the brain sends soothing neurotransmitters to the limbic system, the part of the brain that wants to run away.
Soothing … I love the sound of that.
For instance, when a child is scared, just naming it and saying: I’m scared, helps her calm down.
The more accurate you can be in naming the emotion, the better the result.
That’s why it helps for parents to be in tune with their children, to help them name their emotion.
By the same token, it’s important for adults to be in tune with themselves!
Being able to stay calm in the storm isn’t easy.
However, as we care for our deeper needs, we feel calmer and more steady.
That’s all for now … I’ll be following up with more about how you can let your calmer, steady side prevail.