stop and think!

Stop and Think – How to Use Your Pause Button

Take a moment to stop what you’re doing and think: When was the last time you lost your temper?

It happens to the best of us, we could be innocently going about our day and then BAM! Something – or someone – pushes one of our buttons and sets us off. We get mad, frustrated or upset; emotion overload ensues and we say something we’ll later regret or act in a way that that could land us in hot water…

These kinds of overwhelming situations, where you find yourself unable to control your emotions, are not pleasant for anyone to find themselves in. Not only can they leave you feeling miserable and embarrassed, but they can also damage relationships or cause problems at school or work.

BUT DON’T PANIC! When a situation or person is pushing your buttons, there’s another button you can use to stop the meltdown: your own internal PAUSE button.

At Moorelands Kids, one of the leadership habits we teach our kids is to CHOOSE YOUR RESPONSE and to STOP AND THINK. By taking a moment to reflect, you can often avert emotional disaster and regain your self-control. Here’s how to find and use your emotional pause button and stop and think!

  1. Identify Your Triggers
    • Think back to some recent times when you’ve lost your temper. Are there any patterns or similarities?
    • A wide variety of things can trigger us into a heightened emotional state. It could be a tone that someone uses; specific words or types of “jokes”; the emotions you feel in a particular situation; or something else entirely.
    • It’s a natural biological response for your adrenaline to start pumping when you are in a stressful situation.
    • Try to identify the particular triggers that stress you out so you can be better prepared to press your pause button and stop and think when they arise. For example, most people become stressed when someone else is aggressive towards them or raises their voice. Other common triggers can be feeling disrespected, hearing criticism, feeling afraid, or feeling unappreciated.
    • Once you’ve identified your triggers, consider whether there is something you can do to proactively address them before a situation arises. Try talking to a friend about a joke they make that feels bad. Or discussing a situation with a coworker where you feel undervalued?
triggers
  1. Allow Yourself Time to Stop and Think
    • When you’re in the moment of a meltdown, it can be very difficult to allow yourself the space you need to calm down.
    • Take time to stop and think by counting to ten and taking deep breaths.
    • If you are feeling really overwhelmed, you may need to take a moment away from the trigger. If you are able to excuse yourself and go to the washroom or step outside, do that.
    • By putting some distance – either time or physical space – between you and the trigger, you will be able to think more rationally.
  1. Be Mindful of What’s Happening in Your HeadI
    • n the moment that you take to stop and think, start by identifying how you are feeling.
    • This strategy is called “Name it to Tame it” – the simple act of giving the emotion you are feeling a name can help you calm down.
    • It’s as simple as thinking to yourself, “I am feeling angry” or “I am feeling trapped” etc.
    • Remember that this is how you are feeling in the moment, it won’t last forever and you can do something about it.
stop and think and be mindful
  1. Remember What’s Important to You
    • Before you respond to the situation, remind yourself what is important to you and the type of person you want to be.
    • Choose a response that will reflect those things and help you be the best version of yourself.
    • Consider the consequences of what you are about to do or say. What kind of reaction or response will make you happier in the long run?
    • Take the high road for yourself as well as your relationships.

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