What if I fail? What if he doesn’t like me? What if I make a fool out of myself? What if my brain freezes and I suddenly can’t think?
Sound like familiar thoughts? Our mind is like an overprotective parent, constantly coming up with thoughts about what could go wrong in life. It is doing it to protect you – to prevent you from harm. But a lot of the time it is actually not very helpful. All those thoughts often send us into a spiral of more worrying thoughts and emotions – making us even more anxious and stressed. So what can you do when your mind is spinning out of control?
Take a pause and breathe!
It is really that simple. By taking a moment to notice what is going on inside of you, you become aware of how your mind and body work. With this awareness comes the freedom to make a choice – do I choose to go down this road of worrying and catastrophizing? You can even say; “Hey, brain, I hear you – thank you for trying to protect me, but right now I choose to focus on the task I have at hand.” As well as “un-hooking” from all the thoughts, taking a pause to simply breathe also makes your nervous system go from the stress induced fight/flight/freeze mode into the calming rest and digest mode, where your body and mind relaxes. When you are in this mode, it is easier for you to see things in a larger perspective and to make wiser choices.
But don’t take our word for it; try it!
Here is a PAUSE practice you can try out next time you feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or pressured. You can download it as an MP3 or you can simply do it yourself by memorising these three easy steps:
What is going on in the body and mind?
Just being with the breath.
Responding with awareness and kindness.