2 The Power of a Pause
Awareness is key, and it all begins with a pause. Life goes by in such a rush that it is easy to forget about the power of a pause. With a pause we can savor the sweet taste of ice cream, take a deep breath, or greet a friend. With a pause we can consider whether the best choice is an excuse or a goal. With a pause we can think before we react. The more we practice awareness, the more we have the ability to pause and make a shift.
SOS: Stop → Observe → Shift
The SOS method is a way to insert a mental pause in the seconds before the brain is hijacked by chemical flooding in response to situations that we perceive as threatening. When chemical flooding occurs during a fight or flight response, access to the thinking part of the brain is cut off. It can take 20 minutes to return to normal. When we use the SOS method, we can stop and notice what our body is telling us, and identify our thoughts and feelings. We can then shift to engage coping skills like taking a walk, deep breathing, and disputing irrational thoughts. By inserting a mental pause to add calming techniques and thoughts, we can respond appropriately.
Gain awareness with the SOS method to make a shift to the positive.
SOS: Stop ▪ → Observe → Shift + →
- Stop – pause
- Observe – events → thoughts → feelings
- Shift – to the 4 Ps of Positive Psychology
more shift happens
Each building block requires different skills. As we make a shift to practice positive activities, several shifts can happen. To move among the four Ps of Positive Psychology, we need the ability to:
Shift between inner and outer focus. An inner focus is needed for some of the building blocks, like deep breathing and meditation. An outer focus is needed for others, like savoring the sights and sounds of the world around us, and sharing with others.
Shift between time perspectives. Many of the building blocks have a focus on a positive present. But some involve a look forward to the future, and some a positive look back to the past.
Shift between the inner child and inner adult. Sometimes we need the playfulness and creativity of our inner child. At other times, we need the self-discipline and strength of our inner adult.
Shift to following values. We need direction for a life of purpose and meaning, and a value statement can guide us like a compass.
By now, you may have an idea or two about what some of the building blocks are. In the next chapter, we spell out BE MEASURING with all twelve of the building blocks.
The Power of a Pause for Positive Shift at the Daily PlanIt