Press Pause on Your Reactions


A pause is simply a brief moment in time. But a pause can be life changing.

The editorial team at Peake Media, Campus Rec Magazine’s parent company, is always reading a book of some sort — it’s some of the best continuing education around. We recently started a new book, moving on from “Start With Why” to “Search Inside Yourself” by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Daniel Goleman.

While some books are on productivity and others are on best practices, this book is focused on honing your mind. It looks to breakdown emotional intelligence into a set of useful tools and skills that will help you succeed.

For example, the first chapter mentions the power of a pause. “There is an ability called ‘response flexibility,’ which is a fancy name for the ability to pause before you act,” wrote the authors. “You experience strong emotional stimulus, but instead of reacting immediately as you normally would … you pause for a split second, and that pause gives you choice in how you want to react in that emotional situation.”

However, in order to do this you need to be alert and aware, having enough attention to notice when this is happening.

I know learning this attentiveness and control over my response is key in my office. I work with people every day; if I react immediately to every strong emotion I feel, it wouldn’t end well. By taking a moment, by pausing and noting how exactly I’m feeling, I can then process the emotion and respond better.

You daily deal with people too, Affiliate. It’s part of the industry — relationships, networking, staff. Do you react off the cuff in every situation? Do you let your “strong emotional stimulus” drive you when it rises up?

If so, I would challenge you to start paying attention. When you blow up, note why. When you breakdown emotionally, note why. Oftentimes, tracking and simply observing are the first steps toward long-term change.

Now, it’s never fun to work on personal things. It’s never a joy to root out the real issues behind your “strong emotional stimulus,” as it always seems to go deeper than you think. However, I can promise you one thing: Pausing won’t be detrimental. It could be the thing you’ve been looking for.

So give it a try. Pay attention to your emotions. Take a moment and pause when you go through a strong response. And realize you can react better if you only search inside yourself.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at