One tool to help prevent overwhelm: pausing first, before reacting

It’s easy to let this season of giving, gratitude and family become one of overwhelm.

One tool to help prevent this overwhelm: pausing first, before reacting.

Taking one moment to pause first, before reacting, helps us disconnect whatever is going on around us with what we feel inside. When we feel calm and kindness inside, the things going on around us don’t have to negatively impact us. 

Pausing first helps me not take personally whatever happened, whatever someone did or said. I can’t control the way others act. Only myself.

Pausing first helps me realize when I’m lost in my expectations and not really present.

Pausing first help me recognize when I’m ruminating about the  past instead of in this moment

Pausing first before reacting helps me reconnect with my intention and act with kindness for myself and others.

Pausing helps me remember that I am responsible for the energy I bring to any situation and I don’t have to let others negative energy affect me.

Learning to pause first, react second is a process. We can use our breath to practice pausing.

We can apply this practice of pausing in all of our relationships, especially in parenting. 

It’s the really heated moments of overwhelm and frustration that I need to remember pause but sometimes don’t. We shouldn’t feel guilty. Recognizing it is part of the process and its not easy.

Reaction is the second topic of Dr. Shefali’s Conscious Parenting Challenge. In her book Conscious Parenting, Dr. Shefali says “If you understand that the inappropriate behavior of your child is a call to increased consciousness on your part, you are able to view the opportunities they afford you to grow differently. Instead of reacting to them, you look within yourself and ask why you react. In the asking, you open a space for consciousness to rise.”

My reaction is always up to me – it’s my stuff coming out, even when it feels like someone else is at fault.

Sometimes we feel like we did our part, acted kindly, then others mistreated or disrespected or hurt us, and we have no choice to be unkind then.

That is where the work begins. We are responsible for our actions, and there is never justification for a negative reaction on our part, even when someone is negative toward us.

I’m feeling helpless and unheard, but it’s me who is choosing to feel out of control because of it, letting my projection of others’ feelings change the way I feel about myself when its probably about them, not me.

I had an expectation for the evening and someone had another agenda, but it’s me who is letting those unmet expectations upset me.

My child misbehaving and I’m raising my voice because I am fearing disapproval from others, when really its my child being his own free spirit. Its not a reflection of me unless I let it be.

Seeing my reaction as me, and not staying in a negative place of blame and resentment helps us be in control this moment, right now. We are not giving control over to someone else for how we feel now.

Every time someone does something or something happens that you don’t like. Pause.

When we pause, we can become centered again and get back to a place of love and kindness.

It’s a practice of paying attention. It’s a practice of building awareness. We can use our breath to practice.

We are patterned to react the way we usually do. We have to rewire ourselves to act differently.

When we are feeling love and kindness inside, for ourselves, it’s easy to extend that to others. It’s natural. When we feel negative inside, that’s when we extend that out. It’s up to us to chose what we give out.

I’m going to try it with my family and with my children and I challenge you too.

Let me know how it goes.

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