Amy Rees Anderson

Practice The Pause

“Practice the pause. Pause before judging. Pause before assuming. Pause before accusing. Pause whenever you’re about to react harshly and you’ll avoid doing and saying things you’ll later regret.” – Lori Deschene

Similar to that quote is one that reads:  “Practice the pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. [here I would insert: When hungry, pause. When scared, pause. When overwhelmed, pause. When self-doubting, pause.] And when you pause…pray.”

The Pause. What a brilliant thing to do – to pause. Yet pausing isn’t something we typically even consider doing when we are in the heat of a moment. That’s the entire reason we need to Practice The Pause. By telling ourselves to practice the pause we are preparing ourselves to be aware and ready to implement it when that heat of the moment does arise in our day…and let’s face it, there is at least one moment that arises in every day when we really ought to be ready to use it…. Whether it’s a car cutting us off in traffic, or a coworker that frustrates you, or a child that disobeys you, or a spouse that isn’t helping helping you, or a person who cuts in front of you in the grocery line, or a social media post that upsets you…we’re bound to have at least one of those annoying moments happen at some point in almost every day.  But just by saying we will practice the pause we are helping ourselves to remember to do it when any of those moments arise.

One way to practice the pause is to put a post-it note on the bathroom mirror where you will see it first thing when you wake up in the morning. Then put another one somewhere where you will see it in the midst of your day at the time you know you most often need to be reminded of it, perhaps on the dashboard of the car if you tend to get road rage when you are driving, or perhaps on the garage door as you head into the house so you see it when you walk into the house after a long day of work hungry and grouchy and tired, or somewhere in your home where you find yourself the most easily frustrated and impatient with your loved ones. Just putting that little post-it reminder in a few strategic places can make a huge difference in helping you remember that you want to practice the pause.

I can think of several times in my life I wish I had practiced the pause in my life, and I cannot think of a single time I am glad where I didn’t. Nothing good ever comes from a snap response, a snap judgment, or a snap reaction. Reacting harshly to anything only leads to us doing and saying things we will later regret. But if we commit ourselves each morning to practice the pause in our day we will stay alert and be ready to take advantage of the power of the pause and the happiness it can bring when implemented.

Have a happy day!

~Amy Rees Anderson


  • Sowmya says:

    Amazing article. I have started to practice this for sometime now.huge change in me. Finding myself peaceful.
    I have regretted many times the decisions,words I have taken or spoken or messaged. Liked the idea of post its.

  • Victoria Winschel says:

    Pausing is the most effective way to lead a productive and living existence. It would benefit all humans to practice the pause before taking the next step.

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