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How Pausing Saved My Sanity: 7 Life-Changing Secrets to Mastering Impulsive Reactions

We've all been there – moments when our initial reaction is to scream, cry, or maybe throw something (preferably soft). But what if I told you that pausing, taking a breath, and using a bit of emotional intelligence can turn those stressful moments into opportunities for growth?

Welcome to the art of not reacting impulsively, a skill that has saved me countless times and can transform your life too. Here are seven lessons that I have learned from mastering this art and helped me in creating The Guided Change.

Lesson 1: Improved Relationships

Let me paint a picture. One evening, my oldest daughter decided to practice her guitar right as I was about to start a virtual coaching session. My initial reaction? Panic and a mental image of my laptop flying out the window. But instead, I took a deep breath, walked into her room, and asked if she could take a break for an hour. We both laughed about the timing, and my session went off without a hitch. Taking a moment to breathe can turn potential conflicts into moments of connection.

Lesson 2: Enhanced Decision-Making

Last month, I was at a crossroads – literally. I had to decide between taking the scenic route home or the faster, traffic-filled highway. My usual impulsive self would have gone for speed, but instead, I paused and thought it through. I chose the scenic route and ended up discovering a quaint little tea shop (yes, tea, not coffee). This mindful decision turned my day around, proving that pausing leads to better choices.

Lesson 3: Increased Empathy

Have you ever been cut off in traffic and immediately cursed the other driver? I used to do that too. But now, I pause and imagine they might be rushing to a hospital or having a bad day. This small shift has made me a more empathetic and patient driver. Plus, it’s much easier on my blood pressure. I recommend this approach to my clients as well, and it has made a noticeable difference in their ability to stay calm and compassionate on the road.

Lesson 4: Reduced Stress

Stress used to be my middle name. But since adopting the pause-and-breathe technique, my stress levels have plummeted. For example, when my son forgot his computer at home (yes, this actually happened), instead of exploding, I took a breath, we laughed about our morning rush, and simply turned back to get it. Stress level: zero.

Lesson 5: Greater Self-Awareness

Pausing gives me a chance to check in with myself. It’s like a mini therapy session (but cheaper). I've learned to recognize my triggers and understand why certain situations make me react. Pausing to do a body scan to identify where the trigger is and why it is coming up, along with journaling, has helped immensely. This self-awareness has been a game-changer in my personal growth journey.

Lesson 6: Enhanced Problem-Solving

When my Wi-Fi went out during a crucial Zoom meeting, I could have freaked out. Instead, I paused, took a breath, and thought of a solution. I quickly tethered my phone’s data, and the meeting continued without a hitch. Pausing helps you think more clearly and find creative solutions to problems.

Lesson 7: Stronger Leadership Skills

As a coach at The Guided Change, I’ve found that pausing and using emotional intelligence makes me a better leader. It helps me stay calm, listen more effectively, and provide thoughtful guidance to my clients. Plus, it sets a great example for them to follow.

Mastering the art of not reacting impulsively has been a transformative journey. From improving relationships to enhancing decision-making, the benefits are endless. So next time you’re faced with a stressful situation, remember to pause, breathe, and respond with grace. And if you need a little extra support on this journey, The Guided Change is here to help you every step of the way.

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