The Power of Pause
Description: In this episode, Melissa and Maribeth (from ADD Professionals) discuss how to make better decisions by pausing impulsive tendencies.
In our careers, sometimes the difference between success and failure is the difference between responding rationally, and reacting impulsively to a situation. In many cases, the one who remains calm wins! So, let's look at the difference between responding and reacting when it comes to how our ADD brains think.
When we have ADD the ability to pause is a real challenge. It doesn’t happen naturally. In fact, it is a real challenge to everyone in today’s fast pass world, but It's especially challenging for those with an ADD brain.
It is interesting to note that with ADD, pausing is a bio-neurological challenge. It doesn’t happen naturally. Reacting immediately has actually been genetically programmed into our brain.
If we can learn to become aware of certain situations that trigger our impulsivity, then we can be aware of the need to pause. Everything begins with a pause.
For example, let's say that you just missed a deadline that caused you to miss a bonus. It was going to pay for that vacation that you have been promising your family for so long. You could react in anger, frustration and self defeat that could last for days. Or your could pause and respond in an appropriate way, taking responsibility and learning from your mistake, to do a better job next time.
When we say we are pausing, it means we are making a conscience effort to stop reactive patterns and redirect our attention. We are able to check in with ourselves and reflect, “what’s going on here?” rather than allowing the automatic reaction – impulsivity, anger, anguish, frustration.
We might ask ourselves “Do we need to live in these moments of pain or can we LEARN from them by pausing.” Wonderful news! We can learn! We can learn to pause, reflect and make much better decisions. You could just be mad at yourself, or you could redouble your efforts to do better.
The key is to observe WITHOUT Judgment or blame and NOTICE the impairing pattern. The goal is to not beat your self up, but to say "what can this situation teach me?"
The purpose of pausing is to change the patterns. We can change from reacting to responding and that is a pro-active skill. We want to be consciously aware, to be able to discern what is going on, to make the best possible choice.
This pause could be just a few seconds. But we have to choose in this short time not to simply react but choose our response. Our bodies are a wonderful radar telling us it is time to pause. We just need to pay attention to signals in our body (tight shoulders, tense lips, stomach pain). When these appear, know you need to pay attention. It is interesting to note, negative feelings happen in 1/32nd of a second and they set off the amygdala which floods our system with negative adrenaline - our fear response. It also shuts down our pre frontal cortex, the logical part of our brain.
But that is not the worst part. Your dominating negative thoughts can highjack your brain. They create electric currents that trigger adrenalin, which leads to your fight or flight response, which can turn into a spiral of negativity that can impede your ability to move forward in a positive way. They can ruin your life for hours or days.
But, a three second pause overrides that amygdala and reignites the pre-frontal cortex. With your logic back in place, you can choose a productive positive response and turn your whole day around.
In three seconds, you can pick how you respond. That can make a huge different in how your whole day goes. Every day, you can choose to have a great day!!!