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The Power Pause: When & How To Use It

In the rush of life, this world we live in, it is becoming even more apparent that we are in need of a pause. In an effort to walk in more joy, more confidence, more control, a pause is a worthwhile thing to look at. If you would, take a moment and look back on your day or week. Did you have moments where you breezed past a perfect moment to pause? To allow yourself to gain composure or your calm?

No doubt many of us can learn to take greater care and intention in our day and the moments that fill our world. This is where the Power Pause comes in!

In this post I will define the power pause and its benefits, highlight three important times to use it, and how.

What is the Power Pause?

The Power Pause is simply a stop, an opportunity to create room, a moment, a reset if you will.

A benefit of pausing can allow you the opportunity to handle a challenging moment when you are at a better place or ability. It can help you refocus and move forward, rather than remaining stuck or left with regret. It can also give your nervous system a chance to regain balance and perform better. And just as important as the above listed, it can allow you to get curious and shift your perspective. Another notable benefit is it can build your stress resilience which is most definitely a positive in the world we are living in today.

“Pause. This is where the magic happens.”

Merilyn Keskula

1) The Power Pause to Improve Your Decision Making Skills

There are essentially two ways to make a decision: one of them being quick, and often lacking conscious awareness; and the other slower, while being highly aware. Which one sounds better to you? Personally, I would definitely lean towards the conscious awareness one especially when it comes to big decisions in life.

Our brains are wired to act fast and ensure we get to continue making decisions through our life, and they will continue to do so until we begin to make a change. Starting with a pause, we can begin creating space to move towards a more logical and well thought out decision.

One way to help is weighing out the pros and cons, taking the time to look at both and see what presents to us clearly. Thinking about some decisions in my life, I am really thankful I paused and took the time and intention to look at everything in total and make a confident decision. It is found often that more details or the greater picture will reveal itself as we allow time for it. 

2) The Power Pause to Respond

If you find yourself reacting in a way you regret rather than responding effectively, a well timed pause might aid you next time. Ever find yourself on the other side wishing you had taken the time to think and lay out your response? I sure have!

When a situation occurs that upsets us, our brain works in such a way to protect or preserve us. This is thanks to our predisposition of Fight, Flight, or Freeze. Our brains are tailored to maintain balance and keep us safe. However, this doesn’t always serve us well in the long run. Instituting a practice of intentional pausing before moving to reaction may very well allow you to assess the bigger picture and take the most rational step forward.

This may look like stepping back and taking a calming breath, or even taking additional time to think through everything before returning to the situation. Some things to ask yourself in addition might be: “Is my response kind, necessary, and/or true?” The key here really is about exercising self control, and the pause certainly is a helpful tool. 

3) The Power Pause to Remember

This may be my favorite intention in pausing – which is to remember.

Allison Preston, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Texas at Austin, explains, “We think replaying memories during rest makes those earlier memories stronger, not just impacting the original content, but impacting the memories to come. […] Nothing happens in isolation. When you are learning something new, you bring to mind all of the things you know that are related to that information. In doing so, you embed the new information into your existing knowledge.” You can take this and apply it to memories you want to enjoy for years to come as well.

When we take a pause and reflect, we enable our brain to build and stabilize the memory. Think about how powerful that is. We truly have the control to direct our brain in the way we want to. Have you noticed how your most enjoyed memories are more easily recalled as you have paused and taken repetitive time to reflect? Or perhaps the way you remember certain things from books you have read?

What else could you apply this to?

The Power Pause in Practice

Below is a power pause practice from mindful.org. We won’t always have the ability to take the time to move through these steps. Belly breathing is an excellent additional resource to look further into. One of my favorite breathing practices is called Ujjayi breath and is a very useful tool I use to pause even if I only have a few minutes. I have found this works well.

  1. Place your feet on the floor and your hand on your thighs, and close your eyes. And if you’re driving, just keep your eyes steady
  2. For a moment, bring your attention way down to your feet. Just notice your feet on the ground, notice your seat in the chair, notice your hands on your legs.
  3. Now find your heart beating, find your pulse somewhere in your body. Bring your mind, your attention, into your body as quickly as possible.
  4. Now place a light attention on the natural rhythm of your breath. With your mind resting on your breath, you may start to notice a sense of ease. You may start to notice, as you exhale fully, that there’s a little bit less tension. A little bit less noise.
  5. There’s not much to do when all you need to do for the next few moments is notice your feet, notice your hands, notice your heartbeat and notice your breath, landing on any one of those areas in your body is just perfect. A perfect way to take a pause.
  6. And now open your eyes if they have been closed and just notice what a few moment of pause can do. Our bodies are magnificent, brilliant, stabilizing systems when we give our body and our mind the opportunity to balance and align. 

Final Thoughts

As a final call out, with anything new, consistency is key and ensures positive habits to form!

So heres to the future and a more powerful you! 

~ Josie

Read more by Josephine: https://bestlifecoachcollective.com/find-a-coach/josephine-tremblay/

Additional Resources:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/fight-flight-or-freeze-response

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-matters-most/201604/the-mindful-pause-how-help-others

https://www.healthline.com/health/diaphragmatic-breathing#benefits

https://www.verywellfit.com/ocean-breath-ujjayi-pranayama-3566763

https://www.mindful.org/the-power-of-pause/

https://human-memory.net/memory-recall-retrieval/

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