August Mindset Reset: The Power of the Pause
Mindfulness can help us live healthier, happier lives, but it’s a muscle we often forget to flex! Every month, Coach Jacqueline will be stopping by the blog to bring us a Mindset Reset to help us improve our mindfulness—this is our first installment.
We’ve all been there before: you’re kicking yourself after you’ve said or done something you wish you hadn’t. Maybe it was after you felt slighted or cast aside, or maybe you were in a bad mood and snapped unfairly at someone. Whatever the reason, you’re sitting there down on yourself for acting out of alignment with who you know yourself to be.
Viktor E. Frankl, psychiatrist, philosopher, author and Holocaust survivor says, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
This month, for your mindset reset, I want you to think about responding mindfully rather than reacting mindlessly.
So, what does this mean? A reaction is when there is a stimulus that causes our internal alarm bell to go off, activating our fight or flight response, and as a result we do or say something without thinking. Usually full of emotion, this can cause us to say something we regret, freeze, be aggressive or defensive or just feel out of control. A reaction isn’t always bad – think about reacting to touching something that’s hot. Your hand pulls away without you even thinking about it. That’s the thing about a reaction – it’s unconscious. When you react to something hot, great, but when your reaction causes you to do something out of alignment with your core beliefs or saying something you regret – not so great.
A response, on the other hand, still starts with that same stimulus that causes our internal alarm bell to go off and activates that same fight or flight response—but instead of allowing this emotion to impact your next action, we are able to pause, take a deep breath and, through awareness, separate the emotion from the information. This enables us to choose a mindful response that takes your well-being and the well-being of others into account and empowers you to act or speak from a place of clarity.
The power to do this rests in the pause – taking a moment before saying or doing anything to pause and reflect, pause and create space, and pause to think before you speak so you can show up in the way that’s aligned with who you are and the kind of person you want to be.
How to respond mindfully rather than react mindlessly:
- Pause – the moment you notice you are triggered, take a moment to pause and breathe. If someone says something that upsets you and you notice your energy change, simply take a deep breath before saying anything.
- Name it – notice what you’re feeling and name it. Anger? Frustration? Annoyance? Tired? Tested? Bored?
- Separate it – by noticing and naming your feeling, you can more easily separate it from the information in front of you so it doesn’t cloud your vision of what is actually happening in front of you.
- Mindfully respond – this is where the freedom, growth and power live. You have the opportunity to lean toward a solution rather than being stuck in an emotion or a problem. This is where you get to show up for yourself, your community and your loved ones.
Applying this mindset reset of responding rather than reacting is about living more intentionally. Notice how the power of the pause, which allows you to mindfully respond rather than mindlessly react, impacts your interactions with everyone – from your coworkers to your kids, to your loved ones and to yourself.