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  • Writer's pictureAbby Rosmarin

pause ............ before responding (something unexpected might emerge)

Challenging times continue. We are in a global high anxiety state and that has created some painful tension in relationships and families. One behavior that I have seen amplified is a tendency to quickly frustrate and reflexively act in emotionally charged situations. Have you ever written an email and then regretted your response? Not unusual in times of stress but often contrary to what we really need – connection and understanding.

I hope, since you are reading this, that you will consider small shift before you react to your co-parent: specifically, a pause before responding. Pausing, or creating space between the stimulus and your response, gives a chance to better understand what matters to you (by tapping into your thoughts and feelings), broadens your perspective and allows you to choose a response that may ultimately serve you and the situation better. Understood that it is not always easy to do and is in fact contrary to learned patterns of responding to immediate danger. You may have to readdress what has become habitual and hone this mindfulness skill.

Here is one tip: A first step before responding is to allow yourself to become aware of what is happening for you in the moment. How is your body is reacting? What are your emotions and your thoughts? Then, allow yourself to just be with whatever is happening without judgment or an attempt to fix it. Approach with curiousity. Often that reflection can increase clarity and aid in regaining emotional equilibrium so can turn your attention to a response that considers many factors. Sometimes people need help finding this moment on their own. I often help clients find the space so they can begin to change their communication patterns.

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom" *

*Some attribute this quote to Viktor Frankl, psychologist and holocaust survivor.

ARTWORK: Celeste Roberge


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