The power of the pause

Many of us interpret our experience of anxiety as "something is wrong." Instead, we must look at the magnitude of anxiety and fear as commiserate with the need to look inside of ourselves and tend to the pain that is there. 

  1. Name the fear mind: Notice the racing thoughts, the evidence you're stacking up all pointing to the "fact" that something is wrong, and identify the experience as your "fear mind" is taking over.

  2. Name the need: Spend some time asking yourself, what is truly needing my attention? Which parts of me are beckoning for attention and support?

  3. Go to the spaces where you are "okay": We all have places in our lives (a river in our town, a park bench in the neighborhood, our bed) where we have the sensation of okay-ness. Go there. And if you can't physically be there, come into contact with the memory of a time when you felt okay--what did you see, what did it feel like, what did it smell like, what colors were there, which faces where present? It doesn't need to be anything more than a time when you felt "okay."

  4. Create space for a new emotional experience to emerge: Feelings are real, but they aren't facts. They are transient. Notice that you can feel anxious and then release it, making room for new experiences to permeate, just as clouds clear and make way for blue.

  5. Stay in it: If you are able to notice a decrease in anxiety, ruminate in this experience, even just for one moment. Take pride in the fact that you brought yourself into a bit of more peacefulness, and that this was your choice.

I've been meditating on the acronym STOP


Take a breath

Observe what's happening


Believe in the power of the pause and be open to the moment-to-moment experiences--this is how we become aware of the small shifts toward betterment and wellness in our daily lives. There is no need for an overhaul. Change is incremental.

Lia Avellino