Some, no, many will call me emotional. They will call me sensitive and extremely empathetic. These are all things I know to be true. I’m also prone to panic, anxiety, depression, manic thoughts when triggered, and intense stress and pressure. So reacting to things that cause me pain or worry or anger usually tosses me into some sort of frenzy. I will be hit with a surge of energy, birthed from negativity, and roar a mighty roar until I am hit with extreme exhaustion and complete numbness to my emotions.
In enters the practice of mindfulness and the study of slow living.
For the past couple of years, I have been on a journey to gain control of my emotions, slow down, and center and ground myself. I have dived head first into the waters, only to lose energy after a time of crisis and give up. I am not in the greatest of places currently, and yet my practice has never been more consistent and helpful.
January has been full of…mostly downs, and the practice of pausing has been a benefit to handling the stress that I’ve been under. Taking a pause means just that, pausing for a moment, taking a deep breathe and being present in the moment. There are different ways to use pausing to benefit your life. You can use it to appreciate a moment of beauty or wonder, but I want to talk about how it’s been most impactful for me this past month. Taking a pause in a moment of anger, stress, or frustration, taking a deep breath or 4, accepting the situation I am in, and then reacting. This allows me to physically calm my body down, and access the situation with clarity.
Let’s say that I am at dinner with some people and someone angers me, I might immediately become defensive, raise my voice, or establish an argument, or I might just hold on to that anger, bite my tongue, and then carry it home with me until it festers and I take it out on someone else, but when I use pausing as a tool, I can take a deep breath, and react with calmness, kindness, and acceptance, or decide that responding is not worth it and let go and move forward.
I use pausing when I am in a moment of stress and anxiety. When it feels like everything in your life is going wrong, one more indicator of stress can cause you to be overwhelmed to the point of pure exhaustion and something manageable may seem like the end of the world. When I pause, I am able to access if this new problem is worth the energy. Is it something I can just let go? Is it something that can be handled quite easily? Pausing allows me the time to calm my body down from the fight or flight instincts and approach these moments with loving kindness.
So next time you are under a great deal of stress or met with someone who angers you, perhaps take a moment to pause, take a deep breath, allow your body to relax, and approach the situation with kindness, calmness, and acceptance.