In a past blog post, I spoke about the difference between a reaction and a response. Our reactions tend to be immediate – based more on the action urges that come as a result of our feelings, whereas a response tends to be more mindful. A reaction stays in the emotion brain, a response allows the rational brain to chime in.
The window of slowing down between a reaction and a response is the pause. It is that moment of recognition that things could go sideways fast – words that can’t be unspoken, behaviours that can’t be undone. There is power in the pause; it allows us to set our ego aside and become aware of the repercussions. It allows us to identify our feelings.
Taking a deep breath and leaning into the pause can help us to prevent:
- the “0 to 60 response”
- name calling or yelling
- blaming others
- “he said/she said” behaviours
- “eye for an eye” behaviours
- the look of hurt on someone’s face
- the fearful look on a child’s face
Learning to slow down our reaction comes from the same place where we learned that it was somehow okay to skip past the feeling and go straight to the action urge. What is learned can be unlearned. When we know that there is power in the pause, we can use it to feel more grounded, stay mindful, and improve our communication skills. Sounds like a good plan to me 🙂
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@ralphkayden