We cannot control the outside circumstances, but we can use some tools to manage our inner world. This helps us to feel as though we have choices regarding both what we do and how we feel about what happens to us.
“We actually have much more control over our lives than we tend to think we do. Especially when we get caught up in one of these stuck loops, it can feel as though our lives are shrinking down around us.
Our inner world and outer world influence one another, and we must learn how to navigate that.
For me these three tools, PAUSE, TEA and MASK helps me to make my emotions my ally.
In this blog, I will be covering the first one, the most effective and profound for me, that is to PAUSE.
Getting caught in a difficult emotion is like being caught in a rainstorm.
We get wet, but we don’t think we are the rain! Difficult emotions are indeed just like a storm, they arise due to causes and conditions, they may soak us and make us feel miserable, but they are not us. For me seeing their impersonal nature, helps me to cope with them skilfully.
When we encounter situations that trigger us, just a six seconds ‘PAUSE’ before reacting helps us to get a distance from the heat of the moment and allows time for the thinking process to start. Once we start to think, our reactions will be muted or changed so that the chances of saying or doing something we will later regret significantly decrease.
It’s very important to know, how do you engage that moment of pause?
You need to have a planned and practiced technique for pausing. There should be some practiced ritual that you engage that should include three components.
First, breathe. The technique is to close your mouth and count to eight while breathing
in slowly and deeply through your nose. Take your breath all the way down to your belly. Place your hand on your belly and feel it expand like a balloon. Gently let the air out through your mouth.
Second, there should be some physical movement that you immediately can revert to as you breathe. Some of the examples include taking a long sip of coffee, removing your eyeglasses, adjusting your tie, getting up and stretching, or consciously shifting your body weight.
Third, you should have a mantra that you recite while breathing and performing the physical movement. That mantra should be uniquely yours and should be something that helps you shift your thoughts and gain perspective. Some examples can be, It’s okay, or this too shall pass, or my mantra is pain now or pain later.
While taking Pause, do not identify with your emotions and mind states or allow them to determine the nature of your experience.
Do not judge, compare, or try to fix your emotions or mind states. Instead you learn to be fully present to whatever you are experiencing, with a calm, nonjudgmental mind and an open heart.