How to practice the pause (and why this is important)
Given the frequency with which I bang on about practising the pause (also referred to as ‘creating space’!) with my AIP Mentorship crew, I am well overdue a post on the subject…
That ’10 things to give up’ list (above) is an oldie that did the rounds on Facebook a few years ago. I’ve been thinking about it. A lot.
When it first turned up in my feed, it wasn’t attributed to anyone (or anywhere), so I can’t offer any credit. But, for some reason, it really struck a chord. Mainly because I was guilty of almost all of them. (Still am, if I’m honest) And, that made me stop and think…
I reckon it has a lot to do with how you talk to yourself. And, in a weirdly circular way, understanding just how that inner voice of yours communicates is directly linked to practising the pause.
How many of the 10 things resonate for you?
I know, Facebook is full of these little ‘pop psychology’ memes. And, that’s kind of the point. They go viral because they resonate with so many of us.
Often what they don’t explain is the how…
How do you go about giving up these things?
One way is to change your perspective on the way you think. Start to break the circuit on the habits of a lifetime, if you will.
The Autoimmune Protocol is chock-full of behaviours that pay off in 10-years. All of them do, really.
But when it comes to mindfulness (that buzzword of the decade) and stress management, at their most simple it is all about learning to practice the pause.
a short period in which something such as a sound or an action is stopped before starting again
A bit like when you catch your breath after a steep hill climb, a pause is a temporary rest. It’s also a very useful tool to help you gain a better understanding of yourself.
Learning to practise the pause can help to prevent you from jumping to hasty conclusions or making choices that don’t serve you.
how do you practise the pause?
As with so many things on this health caper, the answer is simple. And as we all know – simple is not always easy.
The first step – often the hardest step – is to notice the thought or feeling or behaviour you are experiencing.
If you think about it, this is logical – how can you change something if you are not first aware of what is not serving you?
Notice what you can see or hear or touch or taste or smell; notice what you are thinking or feeling or doing. Become aware.
This act of becoming aware of what’s going on for you in this moment allows you to stop projecting yourself into the future, or worrying about the past. Instead of going instantly into fight, flight, or freeze mode and drowning in your own reactivity, practice the pause.
When you pause, you’ll be able to make a more considered response that better serves you.
Give it a go. See what happens for you.
The next time you find yourself heading into a shizzle-filled situation, set an intention to practice the pause. At that moment, feel your feelings as an observer rather than a participant.
Name the feeling you’re feeling. Practice the pause and be the observer. As you get better at this, you’ll find yourself creating space to choose your responses rather than moving straight into reactivity.