Have you ever wished you could install a pause button into your mind? A way to take just a moment before reacting? Life throws curve balls and as emotional beings, sometimes we react rather than respond. We may revert back to old patterns, say hurtful things, or act in a way that is just out of integrity with our own values. Basically, we are not who we want to be in those moments and we often have to go back and clean up afterward. If we could pause, we could better choose our next action when we find ourselves caught up in emotion.
Through teaching the Rising Strong process based on the research of Dr. Brene’ Brown, I have come to see that by practicing 3 steps, we can have our pause button ready for practice in no time. These steps do not have to occur in order, in fact, they work more synergistically and shift around in order. For the steps to be easier to remember, we can call them The 3 P’s (which is helpful because Pause begins with P as well).
The first P stands for Permission. We must give ourselves permission to feel what we feel. This is truly an act of self-love and it is a way for us to recognize that what we feel cannot be wrong- it is what we are already experiencing. Others may not understand what we feel, and sometimes we don’t even understand it ourselves, but there is no right or wrong about it. Once we allow ourselves to feel it, we can learn more about ourselves and choose how to respond to what we feel in a way that is in alignment with our deepest held values. By giving ourselves permission to feel what we feel, we are also helping ourselves to process through that emotion rather than hold onto it and by doing this, the emotion will pass like a wave. Say it to yourself outloud if that helps- “I have permission to feel what I feel in this moment”.
The second P stands for Paying Attention. This is all about turning our attention inward with curiosity to recognize that we may be hooked by emotion in the moment, to learn more about what we are actually feeling, and to see where we are feeling it in our bodies. This process will increase our awareness so that we can pause the next time we are hooked by emotion and choose our response rather than getting caught in old patterns that aren’t serving us. Paying Attention is really the practice of mindfulness and being fully present in what we are experiencing. This practice can uncover the triggers that got us here in the first place.
The third P stands for Pranayama which is the yoga term for breathing techniques. ‘Prana’ means life force and ‘yama’ means to direct or control. Pranayama is all about directing how energy is flowing through our bodies. If we change our breathing, we can change everything about our experience in our minds and bodies in the present moment. When we are hooked by emotion, we are often in ‘fight or flight’ mode and our minds are spinning out, unable to make rational decisions. Noticing and changing our breath can focus the mind and help to calm the nervous system so that we can make better choices.
So, this week, let’t try out the pause button as a way to care for ourselves and those around us. Let’s practice noticing when we are feeling hooked by emotion, give ourselves permission to feel what we feel, and then focus on slowing our breath. Let’s feel into our body and start to recognize the physical signs of being in emotional response. Let’s slow the breath and practice something like Inhaling 4 counts, Holding 4 counts, Exhaling 4 counts, and Holding out 4 counts or Inhaling 4 counts, Exhaling 8 counts. We are building awareness to enable us to respond to our lives rather than mindlessly react. We are unwinding patterns that we have been stuck in so that we can live in alignment with who we want to be.
I will be practicing right along with you.
Reach out and let me know how it’s going.
Chat again soon,