Bridge Insights

The Power of the Pause

Jan 19, 2021

The year 2020 was a year of many challenges. It abruptly created a new normal that everyone had to quickly adapt to. There is no question the year wore people down, physically, mentally, and emotionally. For as much as we want (and desperately need) to view the future through rose-colored glasses, 2021 might not be THE year of “recovery and healing” we want it to be.

From time-to-time, our professional lives can be a source of stress. These common stressors have been amplified against the backdrop of present-day social and political tensions and the economic anxieties that millions of Americans are feeling.

Whether we’re working, taking a break from the employment world, or in the thick of a job search, now more than ever it’s so important for all of us to be able to recognize when we have let stress get the best of us. In moments of stress, it is so important to be able to stop, breathe, and reflect–even if just for a second.

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What can you control?

When we become overwhelmed, we make decisions based on emotions and, often, we regret not letting cooler (more rational) heads prevail. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, before reacting, take a moment and ask yourself, “Is this something I can do something about?”, “What aspects of this trigger are within what I can control, and what parts are not?” Once you’ve identified this, you can better create an action plan for the things you can control and start letting go of the things you can’t.

Believe me, it’s A LOT easier said than done, but you don’t have to get it right on the first try. Being mindful in the moment is something you practice; the more you do it, the easier it will become.

Identify your triggers

It’s also important to embrace your thoughts and identify what is making you feel overwhelmed. Taking a few moments to yourself to regroup, make a list, or talk it out with someone makes a world’s difference.
Once you’ve taken a second to breathe, tackle one thing at a time and slowly chisel away at the things you need to complete. Prioritize your tasks and take it day by day. Sometimes you may not get to everything you wanted to, and that’s OK! Being ambitious is a great quality to have, but don’t let the unchecked boxes on your list diminish the ones you were able to check off. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and progress rarely moves in a straight line.

One second can change everything

Pausing is the most powerful emotional “reset button” we have, and it takes, literally, seconds to do. In the professional world, there are so many things that can trigger our anxieties. From interviewing to public speaking, not getting the job/promotion/raise, having an 11th-hour project fall into your lap –the list goes on.

What’s so great about taking a moment to pause before you react is that it can help you in ALL of these situations. Regardless of the trigger, taking a moment to collect yourself and self-assess the source of your stress can help you better navigate stressful situations and channel your emotional energy towards constructive goals.