The Coping Kete

No. 78: Learning to Pause

This week to attain, maintain or regain my sense of well-being…

…I will practice pausing as a first response to intense emotion. While this may not seem like it will change much, it is a vital step in my journey to being able to change the way I respond to my feelings.

Each time I notice a shift in my emotion, I will pause myself by using self-talk to describe to myself what I am feeling in this moment. For example, when I notice I am feeling stressed out, I will pause and say to myself “I am feeling stressed out right now. It’s time to pause.” I will take a couple of deep breaths and then carry on as I see fit.

This week I am creating moments for myself between feeling and reacting. I can react however I wish, this week the focus is on creating the pause and giving myself encouragement to keep doing so.

Each time I pause myself, I will congratulate myself for being able to take the pause. Even if all I do is say ‘pause time’ in my head. It is not easy to pause oneself in the course of such an automatic reaction as an emotional response and it is important to acknowledge the achievement each time. This way I will reinforce the practice of pausing before responding to the way I feel and turn it into a habit.

Later, I will be able to follow this strategy with other techniques that allow me to change the way I am feeling after the pause. This week though, I am going to practice the pause, which is like a platform for launching other strategies from.

If this is difficult to begin with, I will practice on mild emotional experiences or I will practice pausing during times when I am not particularly feeling anything at all. Taking a week or so to do this can help us build up.

Once I am comfortable with pausing and describing the situation and how I feel about it to myself, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for engaging with the current moment to deal with distress.

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