Rick Hanson Ph.D., author of Buddha’s Brain, teaches at UC Berkeley. His Positive Neuroplasticity trains your brain to turn passing experiences — like self-compassion, mindfulness, grit, gratitude, and self-worth — into lasting inner resources that are encoded in your nervous system.
His Just One Thing weekly newsletter suggests a simple practice for more joy, more fulfilling relationships, and more peace of mind. Today, the message was to PAUSE.
When the mind is running fast, it can feel like a juggernaut with no brakes. When in a heated discussion, it is important to be able to PAUSE the flow of words so we may consider better responses. Know to take a break. Rick Hansen says:
If need be, PAUSE the interaction altogether by suggesting you talk later, calling time out, or (last resort) telling the other person you’re done for now and hanging up the phone.
Before doing something that could be problematic — like getting high, putting a big purchase on a credit card, firing off an irritated e-mail, or talking about person A to person B — stop and forecast the consequences. Try to imagine them in living color: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Then make your choice.
He recommends that we stop for a few seconds before starting a new activity and tune in to what’s going on, especially our physical feelings, so that we can briefly touch what Richard Miller calls our “inner resource.” To know breaks give us a chance to regain our center, to calculate the consequences of actions, to compose ourselves, and to know peace.
Training Your Brain
Wendy Sullivan, LMSW, a licensed social worker, developed a set of Just One Thing downloadable cue sheets to help people to structure their efforts to train their brains to feel more peace and joy. Find out more about the Just One Thing book.