A lot happens each day. Some things we enjoy and others not so much. In certain situations emotions can run high. Strong emotions can cause us to react. While this is helpful in times of real danger, it’s troublesome in our daily interactions with family, friends, co-workers and the community.

Reaction is an explosion of unguided power. Negative reactions may cause us to speak or act in ways that go against who we really are or how we want to be. Mild reactions may leave us feeling embarrassed while more severe reactions can cause broken relationships, missed opportunities and lifelong regrets.

We cannot shield ourselves from difficult situations, but we can use a simple practice to help us react less and respond better. Today, when emotionally disturbed, we can avoid reacting if we pause and get calm.

By pausing I mean stop. Take a moment. Take a conscious and controlled breath. Conscious breathing will vent emotional power before it triggers a reaction. As we pause and get calm our heads clear and we are in less danger of acting out in ways we might regret.

Using our breathing brings a feeling of well-being. We are often surprised at how this quiets our mind and puts us at ease during difficult times. As we pause and get calm throughout our day, we become more aware of ourselves and the world around us. We react less and start responding better. We are more conscious and in tune with our true self.

Try it Now
There is no time like the present. Right now, pause and get calm by focusing on your breathing. The most crucial step is to pay close attention to the ‘in and out’ of your breath.

  • Start slow and controlled. Notice and feel the inhalation. This is the pause that unhooks you from reactive thoughts and the things around you.
  • As you exhale, notice and feel relaxation. That’s the calm. Try it a few times until you are quietly aware.

As we pause and get calm we recognize our awareness. It’s the calm inner presence that has been with us since we were children. From this response position we argue less and are more even tempered. We can say yes or no without feeling emotional pressure or guilt. We carry goodwill for others; even in disagreements. Our words and actions are more authentic and less offensive.

More Energy
Less power lost on reaction means more for the things that matter most. We tire less, worry less and sleep better. We develop a reserve of power that elevates our mood throughout the day. Others notice a change for the better. This all happens naturally.

As we pause and get calm the things that disturb us cause us to begin to empower us. What seemed against us is now for us, so we feel much safer. When safe we become more relaxed and observant. Things begin to flow smoother.

A New Reaction
Each day is packed with emotion so we have plenty of chances to practice. Conscious breathing begins to be our new reaction to emotional conflict. With continued practice it’s nearly automatic.

Helping Others
As we pause and get calm we can more easily see when others are struggling with emotions. Our breathing will become conscious when we are around them. It’s times like this that we will realize what a gift this practice truly is. We will have found a way out. Share your experience with others if you think it will help. It will deepen in you even if they don’t practice it.

Wellness Within
As your sense of wellness expands, a quiet confidence and courage befriends you. Thoughts become clear and bright. Imagination becomes a valuable tool. Feeling refreshed and renewed is common. You’ll be more aware of being aware and better positioned to respond well and appreciate the day.

Again, simply pause and get calm, take a moment, take a conscious breath. Awaken to the present. Before long it becomes a prescription for peace.

Bonus Practice 
Want to supercharge this practice? Why wait for disturbances. Write “Pause & Breathe” on 10 sticky notes. Spread them out along the timeline of your day. One on the bathroom mirror, another by the coffee maker, fridge, car dashboard, etc. When you see one, pause and shift your awareness to your breathing. Feel the wellness within. Get the whole family involved! Questions or comments? Email pause@teachselfawareness.com