Pausing before you react to difficult people and difficult situations in life is something most people are trying to get better at. One way to gain more control of your reactions is to sustain a daily meditation practice, but most people struggle to make meditation a habit. It’s not an easy habit to adopt. An intentional breathing practice has similar results as meditation, but is much easier to adapt and maintain. This episode outlines why we are living in a constant state of stress and why a breathing practice can help you to manage that stress.
CLICK HERE to watch the Breathing Class referred to in this podcast.
Welcome, you’re listening to The Coaching Your Family Relationships Podcast, episode 68, “Mastering the Pause Button”
Do you find yourself being really reactive to your family members? And later regretting what you said or did? This episode is for you. I’m Tina Gosney, a family relationship coach, and I’m here to help you with your most difficult relationships, the ones with your family.
If you haven’t listened to Episode 65, and 66, The Pyramid of Influence with Brent Bartel, the talk about the pause button that he was talking about. He mentioned that when he had little twins, that were very active that he taught them that there was a pause button right in the middle of their forehead. And anytime they felt really a strong emotion that was going to cause them to do something he was teaching them how to push their own pause button.
That’s what I’m gonna be talking about today. How do we have a pause button for ourselves? How do we as adults, have a pause button in our life.
Summer of 2021, I was at a coach training, a continuing education coach training event with another coach and she was talking about how her sister hates her. She said her his sister just doesn’t like anything about her, or hates her very, very existence on this earth. And she said she takes every opportunity to tell her how much she doesn’t like her. And just before she had come to this training, she was her sister had come to her house, and was very angry with her and was yelling at her.
She said just inches from her face screaming. And she said I had no reaction to her at all. She said it was like I had a plastic bubble around me that wishes protecting me. And I was able to just look at her and just see how she was reacting and have just curiosity and compassion for her. But she said I had literally no reaction to what she was doing.
And she said, I know that it’s because I have been meditating every day. And today is 286 days that I have not missed a day of meditation. She said I couldn’t have done that on day 100. I couldn’t have probably done that on day 200. Yet here I am on day 286 haven’t missed a day. And I had no reaction to her at all. That’s amazing. How many people do you think could handle that type of situation without being very reactive and wanting to yell back or to to take some sort of action to protect yourself. But she didn’t have to do that.
And meditation is awesome. It has great practice great effects. It’s something if you can master it. That is amazing. And I am my head. My hat is off to you. I’ve tried meditation before I tried an app called Headspace min. Maybe you’re aware of that one if you’ve tried meditation. And was it a huge fan of it? I’m probably some people are huge fans of headspace. For me, it was just not something that resonated with me. I tried it for several days, in fact, several weeks. And then I would start putting it off and putting it off and realized that I had not been doing it for a while.
So I set an alarm on my phone that said, Okay, when this alarm goes off, you need to go and meditate. And then when the alarm went off, I was busy. And so I said I’ll do that later. And finally, didn’t ever go back and do it. And pretty soon it had been weeks since I had logged into my headspace app. So we don’t do headspace anymore. There’s a documentary I watched recently that talked about the great benefits of meditation. In fact, it was amazing. It’s called heal. I actually can’t remember what streaming platform it’s on. But you can go look it up.
It’s called heal H E A L. And it talks about how so many of the things that plague our society today are because we are not allowing ourselves to really do and allow our bodies to do what they were meant to do in the way that they were meant to do them. So it talks about illnesses, mental problems, emotional problems, relations. Ship problems, auto immune diseases, this talks about so many things that we’re dealing with today, and how we can heal these things through a meditation practice.
Now, if you’re not a meditator, if you’ve tried meditation and weren’t really successful at it like I was, what can you do? Well, most, but most people are not able to sit with meditation very long to be able to gain the benefits of it. Most people don’t last 286 days like my friend did. And if you told someone to sit still for an hour every day, or even 30 minutes a day and not think about anything, they would say, that’s impossible. Even at five minutes, many people go crazy. In fact, sometimes one minute is too long for people.
And you probably have heard that you should be meditating. But how many of you have downloaded an app or tried to meditate or said, I’m going to do this? Or you’ve maybe even signed up for headspace like I did. But you don’t use it regularly. So if you’re nodding your head right now, you are like most people, congratulations. I very often, in my coaching practice, people asked me, How do I stop being so reactive, something happens like somebody in my family does this thing, and then I just react and then I regret what I say or do later.
And I just want to not do that thing, I want to have some space before I do that. So I can just kind of ground myself and, and not be so reactive. Well, meditation will do this for you, just like it did for my friend, right? Meditation will help you to not be so reactive. It puts space between what’s happening and your response to it, it helps you get that space.
And I really wanted to find a way for my clients to do this, without them having to meditate for 200 plus days in a row before they could start getting the effects. And, and a lot of my clients don’t have 20 to 90 minutes a day to meditate. So I really started searching for an alternative. There, I knew there had to be some things and there’s something that we can do that has the very similar effects of meditation, but maybe isn’t as demanding on our time.
So I started to search for an alternative in our bodies these days, are in an almost constant state of fight or flight. Have you heard a fight or flight I think most people have. And there’s good reason for this too, because we have the same brains, the same nervous system, the same body makeup that the caveman had, that our ancient ancestors had, and it served them very well. Because they had to be constantly aware of dangers, right, they didn’t have homes, that they could lock the doors and cars that they could get into and, and drive away quickly.
And they didn’t have maybe like a grocery store where they could go and get food anytime they needed or wanted. So they had to be constantly out in the environment, working for their survival. And also being aware of the dangers that could be lurking around any corner, there could be a saber toothed Tiger around any corner at any time, they had to be constantly aware of dangers. And so their brains evolved to be paying close special attention to things that were going wrong. And so that’s why they they needed to focus on the things that were going wrong.
Because those were the things that threatened their life. The things that were going right, were not threatening to their life, it would be totally ineffective for their brains to focus on that. But if we focus on the things that are going wrong, that can prolong our life. We’ve actually not had enough years of evolution for us to have a different brain than they had back then. So we actually have the same brain that they did. So our brain also is looking for things that are going wrong. For things that are threatening. It’s not focused on things that are going right for things that are positive.
And it does that because it thinks that it’s helping us survive. Remember, there could be a saber toothed Tiger around the corner at any moment. We might have to run. But we don’t have saber toothed Tigers anymore. We have different types of threats in our environment. We have traffic, bills, busy schedules, appointments that maybe we’re running late to politics, the housing market, the job market, difficult really difficult family relationships, work relationships, coworkers, neighbors that might not be taking in their trash cans or taking care of their property, the way that you want them to be, let’s just like, really think about how many dynamics are in family relationships and how many opportunities we have there to, to really focus on things that might seem dangerous.
All of these things put our bodies into a fight or flight state, our brain is interpreting these things as dangerous to our life. And it floods our bodies with stress hormones with stress chemicals. Think about how often you encounter these things during the day. They’re just almost constant, right? There’s one thing to another to another, and our ancient ancestors saw the tape, Saber toothed Tiger, were able to run away and get away, and then be safe and calm down. And the stress hormones worked their way through their bodies.
We are constantly bombarded by these things, we don’t have time to run away, we don’t have the ability sometimes to run away. And so we just have one stressor after another after another. And our bodies are constantly being flooded with these stress hormones that are causing problems for us. They’re causing things like the autoimmune diseases and the illnesses, and the aches and the pains and they’re reactionary in the unhappy life that we live today. We need to give our bodies time to rest and digest. Because they are being constantly triggered into a fight or flight.
So if we don’t do this on purpose, if we don’t go into that rest and digest on purpose, we’re not going to attain it, we need a balance, we need that ability to fight or flight when we need it. But we also need to rest and digest and balance is the goal. Not to live into one side or the other, but to have a balance of both in our lives.
Now, if we don’t allow ourselves to do this, like I said before, we’re going to have increased illnesses, increased stress, that hormone, that stress hormone is going to be in your body all the time, your body will be in a constant state of stress. There’s a loss of sleep, there’s weight gain, there’s just a general feeling of not enjoying your life and not being able to handle life being stressed. So how do we give ourselves the space between these things that are happening to us, and our response to it, we become very reactionary to the things in our lives. And this is when we say and do things that we regret later.
So one way to get that pause button to be able to push it on purpose when you need it, is to start using a breath work practice. This is what I found, when I went looking for an alternative for my clients, teaching them how to use their breath, to help calm their nervous system to help ground themselves to help them get out of that fight or flight state and into the rest and digest. And remember, you have to do it on purpose because your brain will purposefully look for the things that are going wrong, because it thinks it’s protecting you. So you have to purposefully go to a rest and digest state, calming, grounding, breath work.
Now, this might sound like it’s too good to be true. But it takes 10 minutes a day actually taught an entire class. It’s about 45-50 minutes. And I’m going to link that in the show notes. If you want to watch the whole class and learn more about this, I urge you to go to the show notes. And click on that link where I teach you even more in depth about this very process. And I also teach you in there three simple breathing techniques that you can use.
Starting that very day, the very day that you watch this, the first one helps you to create energy, and the next to help you to bring on that rest and digest and just to bring down the stress levels during the day.
Now I just got off a call with a client and she’s been using these breathing techniques for Think for a couple of months now. And she mentioned to me she said it’s amazing this one that you taught me how to bring on like sleep, and just to help me go to sleep easier at night. She goes I am amazed. I keep thinking this isn’t going to work but then I do it. I see because I use it almost every single night. And every time I think this isn’t going to work, and I get done with it after a couple minutes, and I’m like, oh, yeah, now I’m tired. And now I can go to sleep.
She said, it’s really actually very amazing. She said, I’m not tired at all, I have this feeling like, I don’t want to go to bed, I need to go to bed, but I’m not tired. How am I gonna go to sleep. So I do this breathing, and then I fall right to sleep. She goes, it happens every single time.
Wouldn’t that be amazing how many of us are struggling to go to sleep and then suffering for it the next day, probably so many people walking around sleep deprived, right? We’re so wired, but we’re tired at the same time, and we can’t relax and calm our brains down long enough to go to sleep. So I teach you the same breathing technique that she was using in that breathing class. So if this sounds like something you could benefit from, go click on that link and go watch that video.
Now, here are your two takeaways for today.
You don’t have to be reactive to the things that are going on around you. You can learn how to slow everything down. You don’t have to feel like your life is out of control, and your emotions and everything is just taking for you for a ride and you have no ability to control it, you can get a handle on this.
Using your breath to achieve that is an easy way to begin doing it right away. And who knows maybe using this breathing practice helps you then move into a meditation practice as well. Can you imagine the benefits that you would get from using both it would be amazing.
Here’s your challenge for the day, click on the link in the show notes. LINK
Watch the breath class that I taught last month. You can learn more about this. And you can learn more about how breathwork can help you achieve a balance.
And you can learn how breath work can help you push that pause button on your own forehead, like Brent Bartel was talking about in those episodes.
And I’ll leave you with this. If you didn’t learn the tools that I’m teaching you on this podcast until now. It’s totally okay. Now is always a good time to start using these tools. No matter what is happening. You can take charge of your own life by using the tools that I’m teaching you in this podcast. You can use these tools in your life and in your family, no matter what everybody else is doing.
Have a great day and I’ll see you next time.