Stressed? Hit Pause.
Updated: Feb 12, 2020
A moment of deliberation isn’t idiocy, it’s intellect.
We are biologically programmed to instantly respond to threats as if they are life threatening. That has served us well in the past (apes who were contemplative of the lion about to attack had their contemplation sadly and abruptly cut short) and still serves us in legitimate life-threatening situations presently. The issue is sometimes that programming fails to distinguish the relative importance of being stuck in a house fire and finding out you need to present to a client in one hour on little to no preparation.
An issue that requires a complex and thoughtful response doesn’t benefit from a stressful one. Key to managing stress is being able to pause and take the time to gather yourself. It allows you to marshal your thought, remove emotion and map out a clear process for dealing with the ‘threat’. Achieving that while under a stress response is exceptionally difficult.
Pause, and slow yourself down. Take 10 seconds to focus on controlling your breathing. If in a conversation, don’t interrupt the other person. Ask a question to give yourself more time or to slow down a tense exchange.
The beauty of the modern world is that now it’s more likely the contemplative ape will survive.
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