Contact Maverick Mom F.A.Q. About Maverick Mom Home Media Room Tribe

The Magical Pause Button

So yesterday pretty much the entire world was annoying me. Everywhere I turned it seemed I was dealing with an idiot or someone mean or someone who just didn’t get it. And I kept getting crabbier and crabbier and crabbier. Just ask my family members who had to deal with me.

And then – it hit me. If the entire world is irritating, chance are it isn’t the world who has the problem. It’s me.

<SMACK>

One of the great double-edged swords of living this conscious life is that I have to take responsibility for creating my own reality. Having to do that sucks sometimes because, boy, is it easier – and way more palatable – to play the victim and blame everyone else.  It also feels really good, at least for a little while.

But, in the end, it all comes down to me and catching myself in this cycle of pissiness.  And I am going to share a tool with you that I learned long ago that helps me derail bad moods, poor knee jerk reactions, and any other bad behavior that a moment of thought would have prevented.

It’s called the Pause Button.

Just like the pause button on your remote, hitting it stops the action. Why is this a good thing? Because stopping the action give me a chance to breathe, to reflect, to make better choices about how I am thinking and how I am acting.

I remember when I learned about this concept ( I was a grown woman), it was startling to me. “You mean I don’t HAVE to react immediately? You mean my auto-response may not be the best response? You mean I have a CHOICE?”  (Read those words with an indignant tone and you’ll get the drift of my thinking at the time.)

Here’s what I can tell you, though. I have never once regretted hitting the pause button. Not one time. But there have been PLENTY of times when I regretted not hitting it to give myself a chance to breathe, collect my thoughts and proceed in a proactive not reactive way.

So the next time you feel grumpy, reactive, indignant, urgent, angry, try hitting the Pause Button as fast as you possibly can. You be glad you gave yourself the gift of some breathing room.

As for me – well, thankfully I hit the pause button, checked in with @ElizabethPW and @AllisonNazarian, got myself collected and realized that an attitude adjustment on my part would miraculously shift my perception of the world.

P.S. Last of my shameless slef-promotion plugs for a while: You still have time to shift your business into high gear, build a strong foundation and put yourself on the map by joining my eight week coaching program that starts tomorrow (Wednesday), April 14. http://bit.ly/RearInGear

Digg This Save to del.icio.us Share on Facebook Tweet This Stumble This
  • http://twitter.com/lazarus2000 Lazarus

    This is so totally true! When we are agitated, our bodies go into a “Fight or Flight” mode, due to our brain’s decrease in oxygen. We start to breathe less, take shallower breaths and essentially starve our brains of food. At this point, our brain goes to the Fight or Flight response. We cant think rationally, due to oxygen deprivation. (This is a very common reaction, dating back to the time we were running around, sleeping in caves)

    Taking that deep breathe gives our brains the oxygen we need to think, make clear rational thoughts and gives us a second to reevaluate our situation. All of a sudden, we have a bunch of new options besides just Fight or Flight.

    LOVE this post Sarah! Thanks for the reminder!

    • Anonymous

      How do you know such cool stuff Ed?! Glad you liked the post. :-)

  • http://fitfathers.net Richard

    Hi Sarah,
    good post – i had a day like that the day before yesterday… come to think of it – you’re in the States… so it was the same day!
    Maybe its was the International day of “Pissiness” :-) there’s a horrible thought, though maybe not so bad if it was just one day for everybody :-)
    Anyway – I like the pause button idea – to stop the action – so pardon my ignorance but what exactly do you mean by that? How does it work? Are you talking about just taking a deep breath when you were about to throw your toys out of the pram and considering more constructive responses than screaming and hurling your bottle at the nearest adult? – or is it something a tad more complex than that?
    thanks Richard

    • Anonymous

      It’s actually really simple. And it starts with simple awareness that we don’t have to respond or do anything in the heat of the moment. I just stop giving energy or action to whatever it is. Walk away, don’t send the email, don’t make the phone call – whatever it is. Just take a pause. And if all else fails, I’ll chuck my my bottle at the nearest adult. :-)

      By the way, I think there is a market for an International Day of Pissiness. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/DooneyPug Lori Finnigan

    Sarah:

    Another great article from you. A Pause button is perfect, and you explained it very well. I guess we just have to give ourselves permission to use it, right?

    It IS okay to think before acting and before speaking. Just because the world around us moves at lightning speed doesn’t mean we have to move that fast. I gotta remember this!

    Good luck and best wishes on your Rear in Gear program.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Lori. :-) Yes we have to give ourselves permission to use it – AND we have to remember that it is an option. Remembering is tough for me when I want to do something right this minute about whatever it is that set me off. Urgency is not always a good thing.

  • Anonymous

    With getting a late spring cold and decluttering my mother’s home I so need the pause bottom – thanks for sharing.

    • Anonymous

      Ack yes! And some extreme self-care too!!

  • Anonymous

    I definitely need a pause button in my car! There are some days when I get so annoyed at everyone else on the road for driving too slowly, not knowing which lane to be in, etc. And suddenly I’ll realize that I’m just in a pissy mood for whatever reason. And when I realize that, people seem to shape up and drive the right way again :)

    Of course, when I’m not in that pissy mood and people annoy me with their driving, I find it’s usually because they’re talking on the damn phone!!

    Hugs,

    Lori

    • Anonymous

      You do make me laugh Lori Latimer. Isn’t it funny how people can shape up once we get ourselves in better space?!

  • http://simplytrece.wordpress.com Trece

    I should have read this before trying to make dinner; could have saved myself a lot of ugliness. Started the rice cooker – it was halfway done when I realized I didn’t put the rice in. Went to cook the fish and found it was still frozen; threw it in the oven and – overcooked it. Heated the skillet to make sauteed green beans and forgot about it. When I put the oil in, it smoked. Now I smell like burnt sesame oil.
    If I’d hit the pause button maybe I could have laughed intstead of cussing.

    • Anonymous

      OMG!! I know it wasn’t funny when it was happening but your description of dinner reminds me of me and is hysterical!! And yes, when we get in a hurry and things start going wrong, the only way I’ve found to stop the downward spiral is to hit PAUSE in the middle of it all.

  • http://twitter.com/lazarus2000 Lazarus

    This is so totally true! When we are agitated, our bodies go into a “Fight or Flight” mode, due to our brain's decrease in oxygen. We start to breathe less, take shallower breaths and essentially starve our brains of food. At this point, our brain goes to the Fight or Flight response. We cant think rationally, due to oxygen deprivation. (This is a very common reaction, dating back to the time we were running around, sleeping in caves)

    Taking that deep breathe gives our brains the oxygen we need to think, make clear rational thoughts and gives us a second to reevaluate our situation. All of a sudden, we have a bunch of new options besides just Fight or Flight.

    LOVE this post Sarah! Thanks for the reminder!

  • http://fitfathers.net Richard

    Hi Sarah,
    good post – i had a day like that the day before yesterday… come to think of it – you're in the States… so it was the same day!
    Maybe its was the International day of “Pissiness” :-) there's a horrible thought, though maybe not so bad if it was just one day for everybody :-)
    Anyway – I like the pause button idea – to stop the action – so pardon my ignorance but what exactly do you mean by that? How does it work? Are you talking about just taking a deep breath when you were about to throw your toys out of the pram and considering more constructive responses than screaming and hurling your bottle at the nearest adult? – or is it something a tad more complex than that?
    thanks Richard

  • http://twitter.com/DooneyPug Lori Finnigan

    Sarah:

    Another great article from you. A Pause button is perfect, and you explained it very well. I guess we just have to give ourselves permission to use it, right?

    It IS okay to think before acting and before speaking. Just because the world around us moves at lightning speed doesn't mean we have to move that fast. I gotta remember this!

    Good luck and best wishes on your Rear in Gear program.

  • kathyjerzak

    With getting a late spring cold and decluttering my mother's home I so need the pause bottom – thanks for sharing.

  • lorilatimer

    I definitely need a pause button in my car! There are some days when I get so annoyed at everyone else on the road for driving too slowly, not knowing which lane to be in, etc. And suddenly I'll realize that I'm just in a pissy mood for whatever reason. And when I realize that, people seem to shape up and drive the right way again :)

    Of course, when I'm not in that pissy mood and people annoy me with their driving, I find it's usually because they're talking on the damn phone!!

    Hugs,

    Lori

  • http://simplytrece.wordpress.com Trece

    I should have read this before trying to make dinner; could have saved myself a lot of ugliness. Started the rice cooker – it was halfway done when I realized I didn't put the rice in. Went to cook the fish and found it was still frozen; threw it in the oven and – overcooked it. Heated the skillet to make sauteed green beans and forgot about it. When I put the oil in, it smoked. Now I smell like burnt sesame oil.
    If I'd hit the pause button maybe I could have laughed intstead of cussing.

  • sarahrobinson

    How do you know such cool stuff Ed?! Glad you liked the post. :-)

  • sarahrobinson

    It's actually really simple. And it starts with simple awareness that we don't have to respond or do anything in the heat of the moment. I just stop giving energy or action to whatever it is. Walk away, don't send the email, don't make the phone call – whatever it is. Just take a pause. And if all else fails, I'll chuck my my bottle at the nearest adult. :-)

    By the way, I think there is a market for an International Day of Pissiness. :-)

  • sarahrobinson

    Thanks Lori. :-) Yes we have to give ourselves permission to use it – AND we have to remember that it is an option. Remembering is tough for me when I want to do something right this minute about whatever it is that set me off. Urgency is not always a good thing.

  • sarahrobinson

    Ack yes! And some extreme self-care too!!

  • sarahrobinson

    You do make me laugh Lori Latimer. Isn't it funny how people can shape up once we get ourselves in better space?!

  • sarahrobinson

    OMG!! I know it wasn't funny when it was happening but your description of dinner reminds me of me and is hysterical!! And yes, when we get in a hurry and things start going wrong, the only way I've found to stop the downward spiral is to hit PAUSE in the middle of it all.

  • http://www.BrillianceMastery.com Carolyn Ellis

    Love it, Allison! Isn’t it funny how now that we’re all past being 29, we can have these Aha’s like – I don’t need to respond right away? One of my favorite questions to use to help me engage my pause button is to say “Now wait a minute here Carolyn, what can you LEARN from this? Where’s the gift in this situation?” Answers definitely come that I need to hear. Plus, the ability to stay grounded even when all sorts of crap might be flying around you from other people, funky internet connections, crazy drivers or whatever. Thanks for another great post!

  • http://loveyourmessbook.com Allison Nazarian

    Woke up this morning to the continuation (or aftermath?) of lots of drama, most self-created by Yours Truly. And right before I read your post, EPW reminded me about the magic button. And now, of course, your post is up.

    It is just so true. Not pressing the pause button keeps you on an often angry/aimless/energy-sapping hamster wheel day or existence. Nope…not for us!

    LOVE YOU! (&THANK YOU!)
    xo ~ Alli

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Hey Sarah! This post was just what I needed! First, to remind me that I’m not the only one who gets annoyed and pissy and irritable and that it’s perfectly okay to feel that way. Second, that just because I FEEL that way doesn’t mean I have to ACT that way… and when I remember to wait and breathe (Love the analogy of hitting the PAUSE button), I am able to respond in a way that is much more supportive of me and others. And – that 99% of the time – my pissyness and annoyance is MY stuff. Gotta remember that… remember that… remember that! :-)

    Talk to you on GYRIG today!

  • http://www.giuliettathemuse.com/blog giulietta the muse

    Hey Sarah,

    We’re all mirrors for ourselves and for each other. What you see is usually what you are projecting to the world. And with this crazy push to go faster and faster, it’s making people get out of sync with themselves. We are not robots who do “x” on command. People need to push back far enough to reclaim our humanity. (and of course, the faster, faster, faster, is making some companies lots of money at the expense of our own sanity. we need “new” companies that promote slower, slower, slower.)

    Pause, pause, pause.

    fun post!

    Giulietta

  • http://www.gatelady.com Carolyn Jones

    Great blog! I love the concept of a pause button! I, too, was a woman when I learned that I have a choice to be responsible for myself. It’s always a choice. This was a novel concept to learn, having always played the victim. It has been a process over time that has allowed me to take responsibility for myself… my emotions, my actions. With no one else to blame, at first I looked at myself with shame. After a while, I began to see myself as a human, doing human things, making human mistakes, and I developed compassion for myself. With that, I was able to see myself in my negative moments with humor, to accept and love myself, and to move forward to claim responsibility. It has been a very freeing experience, worth every moment of anguish that brought me to this point.

    Carolyn Jones
    http://www.gatelady.com

  • Anonymous

    (thanks for guiding me- even to this comment area!!) While ‘hitting the pause button’ is a very intelligent idea- the times that I need my intelligence the most are when I’m completely emotional. Fracken upset, needy, crazy. BUT. Every reminder is taken in. Thanks so much. Today? Not going there baby!!

  • carolynellis

    Love it, Allison! Isn't it funny how now that we're all past being 29, we can have these Aha's like – I don't need to respond right away? One of my favorite questions to use to help me engage my pause button is to say “Now wait a minute here Carolyn, what can you LEARN from this? Where's the gift in this situation?” Answers definitely come that I need to hear. Plus, the ability to stay grounded even when all sorts of crap might be flying around you from other people, funky internet connections, crazy drivers or whatever. Thanks for another great post!

  • http://allisonnazarian.com/ Allison Nazarian

    Woke up this morning to the continuation (or aftermath?) of lots of drama, most self-created by Yours Truly. And right before I read your post, EPW reminded me about the magic button. And now, of course, your post is up.

    It is just so true. Not pressing the pause button keeps you on an often angry/aimless/energy-sapping hamster wheel day or existence. Nope…not for us!

    LOVE YOU! (&THANK YOU!)
    xo ~ Alli

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Hey Sarah! This post was just what I needed! First, to remind me that I'm not the only one who gets annoyed and pissy and irritable and that it's perfectly okay to feel that way. Second, that just because I FEEL that way doesn't mean I have to ACT that way… and when I remember to wait and breathe (Love the analogy of hitting the PAUSE button), I am able to respond in a way that is much more supportive of me and others. And – that 99% of the time – my pissyness and annoyance is MY stuff. Gotta remember that… remember that… remember that! :-)

    Talk to you on GYRIG today!

  • http://www.giuliettathemuse.com/blog giulietta the muse

    Hey Sarah,

    We're all mirrors for ourselves and for each other. What you see is usually what you are projecting to the world. And with this crazy push to go faster and faster, it's making people get out of sync with themselves. We are not robots who do “x” on command. People need to push back far enough to reclaim our humanity. (and of course, the faster, faster, faster, is making some companies lots of money at the expense of our own sanity. we need “new” companies that promote slower, slower, slower.)

    Pause, pause, pause.

    fun post!

    Giulietta

  • http://www.gatelady.com Carolyn Jones

    Great blog! I love the concept of a pause button! I, too, was a woman when I learned that I have a choice to be responsible for myself. It's always a choice. This was a novel concept to learn, having always played the victim. It has been a process over time that has allowed me to take responsibility for myself… my emotions, my actions. With no one else to blame, at first I looked at myself with shame. After a while, I began to see myself as a human, doing human things, making human mistakes, and I developed compassion for myself. With that, I was able to see myself in my negative moments with humor, to accept and love myself, and to move forward to claim responsibility. It has been a very freeing experience, worth every moment of anguish that brought me to this point.

    Carolyn Jones
    http://www.gatelady.com

  • meganmatthieson

    (thanks for guiding me- even to this comment area!!) While 'hitting the pause button' is a very intelligent idea- the times that I need my intelligence the most are when I'm completely emotional. Fracken upset, needy, crazy. BUT. Every reminder is taken in. Thanks so much. Today? Not going there baby!!

  • Ava Diamond (@feistywoman)

    Thanks for this post, Sarah. I love the notion of the “Pause” button. I can somethings get in “Feisty New Yorker” mode, and this is a great reminder of what I can do when I feel myself going there.

    As to the International Day of Pissiness, I’ll stay tuned : )

  • Ava Diamond (@feistywoman)

    Thanks for this post, Sarah. I love the notion of the “Pause” button. I can somethings get in “Feisty New Yorker” mode, and this is a great reminder of what I can do when I feel myself going there.

    As to the International Day of Pissiness, I'll stay tuned : )

  • Debbie Ferm

    I have been getting pretty good at hitting the pause button the past few years. I completely agree that once you recognize the fact that when EVERYONE is on your nerves, it’s probably not them. Yeah, it’s you.

    Sometimes I just warn my family that I’m just not good to be around for awhile, and hide in the bedroom so I don’t bitch someone out that doesn’t really deserve it.

    I guess there are some good things that come with age, huh?

  • Debbie Ferm

    I have been getting pretty good at hitting the pause button the past few years. I completely agree that once you recognize the fact that when EVERYONE is on your nerves, it's probably not them. Yeah, it's you.

    Sometimes I just warn my family that I'm just not good to be around for awhile, and hide in the bedroom so I don't bitch someone out that doesn't really deserve it.

    I guess there are some good things that come with age, huh?

7ads6x98y