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  • Writer's pictureEric

The Sacred Pause

Response flexibility very much depends on your ability to intercept your negative emotion and to give your limbic brain a pause.


Response flexibility very much depends on your ability to intercept your negative emotion and to give your limbic brain a pause.


We are constantly confronted with stressful situations at work. In some cases, we even find ourselves in conflict with others. In these moments, being in control of our emotions and maintaining a solution-focused perspective is crucial to successful collaboration.


There are many tools available to us to do this. The simplest one is the sacred pause.



When we react immediately to triggers at work (such as an inappropriate comment from a co-worker during a meeting or an unpleasant email from our boss), we let the more ‘primitive’ part of our brain control us. And this part of our brain will do pretty much anything to save us from potential danger (and negative comments and emails are interpreted as danger by our brain) and will trigger a flee or fight escape response.


The sacred pause is a moment of at least one minute during which you must inhibit any type of response to the trigger. It helps move the control away from the more ancient part of your brain to the newer one, the pre-frontal cortex. And the PFC is much better at making rational decisions that are not automatic safety responses.

So, next time you are triggered:

  • Become aware that you have been triggered

  • Take a short walk, or look outside, or put on some music, or shake your arms and jump and down. Do anything that activates your senses as this will give back control to your PFC.

  • Examine your intention and priorities

  • Formulate a response

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