The Power of Pause
“When angry, count to ten before you speak; if very angry, count to one hundred.”
It’s amazing what we can do in a single second: a human eye can blink 7 times, a commercial jet can cover 800 feet, and four babies are born around the world. On the other hand, it’s also amazing what we can undo in just a second: a marital covenant, a child’s self-worth, a professional reputation.
A mere second can make a big difference. When we find ourselves in the face of conflict—what difference might 10 seconds afford us? Or as Mr. Jefferson suggests, 100 seconds?
The pause button, which we obviously love here at ScreamFree, is both a great preventer and creator of possibilities. In the heat of the moment, it can buy us time to reflect, break free of our patterns, avoid hurtful words, and evaluate the bigger picture.
Buddhist author and activist Thich Nhat Hanh repeatedly preaches the value of taking three deep breaths. He asks us to think about a few of the terrible mistakes we’ve made throughout our lives, and consider how they might have turned out differently if we had just pressed pause, and taken three deep breaths.
What I’d also ask you to consider are the times you did press pause. You do it far more than you’re aware, and it has benefitted you more than you can calculate. Think of a time this week when you took a breath before you took out your anger on a colleague, or you walked away before you worked up a reactive email reply. Heck, maybe you even blinked seven times before you blew up at your kid’s soccer coach.
You can do this. I can do this. Let’s try to remember that today when our anxiety starts to spike.