How many times has someone triggered you, and you’ve blurted out something unkind, angry or hurtful, or did something you later regret?
There is alway a pause between the moment we have a thought or feeling, and the moment we react or take action. This pause creates a gateway and an opportunity to practice impulse control and change the possible future outcome, depending on what we do next!
Many of us simple have a thought, feel a feeling then react, without thinking about the long term consequences of each action.
In 1972 there was a famous psychologist named Walter Mischel, who was a professor at Stanford University. He did a famous experiment, known as the Marshmallow Experiment, with a group of 4 and 5 year old children. Each child was sat alone in a room with a single marshmallow on the table in front of them. Each child was promised that if they could leave the marshmallow and not eat it till the experimenter returned in a few minutes, they would get 2 marshmallows to enjoy. Some of these children managed to wait till they got their second marshmallow and some of them just reached out and ate the marshmallow that was in front of them.
All of these children were followed up into adulthood, and it became abundantly clear that those children who had been successful at resisting the temptation and not eating the marshmallow were much more successful in later life than those that just had to have the marshmallow and couldn’t wait. They found that some of those children used little tricks to distract from the temptation, such as singing a song to themselves or playing hide and seek under the table. They also found that it is possible to learn how to delay gratification, because they taught some of the children to imagine that the marshmallow was just a picture in a frame, so they could get sone distance from it, and make a decision that would give them a more desirable long term outcome or consequence.
This is the beauty of using hypnosis. Hypnosis is such a powerful tool to make rapid change by harnessing the subconscious mind, which is is 95% of our intelligence and where our habits, patterns and emotions live, to ‘feel’ the impact of the consequences more easily, and be able to break the old compulsion to react. We can then then use different techniques to distract from the impulse and look at the bigger picture before we respond, making better choices that give us a more desirable outcome. If we always do what we always did, we will always get what we always got!
The pause is where our power lies. It is an opportunity to take a breath, imagine floating outside ourself, and even floating high up above and look down on the situation from a different perspective. By doing this, we can look at the possible long term consequences of each choice and choose to respond in a different way to get a different outcome. The pause gives us an opportunity to predict the future according to each new choice. It helps us to break free of old conditioning, become fully present and begin to live our lives by design rather than default. Then we become the master of our own ship!
Next time you are feeling overwhelmed or someone has triggered you ask yourself “just because they said that, what makes me think I have to listen or believe it?” The answer is “you don’t have to! They don’t even know you.” So take a breath and ask yourself what is the likely outcome if you yell back, scream at them, hit them or say something you would later regret? Will it give you the desired outcome or will it create a more difficult situation? Then step out of it and watch yourself from a different perspective and find a different response. Maybe you could just say “thanks for sharing”, laugh and walk away.
The pause gives you choice, and the more you practice the pause, the better you get at not reacting to an old impulse that does not serve you. And the less you react, the more you train your brain to think for the long term, and create something better that will have far reaching effects into your happiness and you future. This is how we let ho of old habits and create new neural pathways in the brain, and this is how we grow our as human beings.
Change Your Mind – Change Your Life!