Recently someone asked me how to press pause in moments of trigger so she didn’t keep playing out the same responses.
That was a really great question. Who doesn’t struggle with that? I know I do - mainly flying off the handle too quickly and jumping to conclusions and causing myself a lot of unnecessary suffering.
As human beings, we have to deal with tricky emotions and situations, and we have minds that don’t always play ball. As a result we often play out the same responses no matter how much we want to do something differently.
If you put a mouse in a maze and repeatedly put the cheese in the same place, the mouse will learn to find it quickly. If you then move the cheese, the mouse will look in the old location but will soon learn there’s no point in that and start looking for the cheese elsewhere. Clever mice.
Humans, however, just keep looking for the cheese in the same place even when it isn’t there. We often play out the same responses hoping for a different outcome.
But you know who don’t get stressed and keep playing out the same responses?
Sloths are slow. Sloths don’t rush. Sloths are onto something.
They key to changing your response in moments of trigger so you can choose a different response is slowing everything right down.
Once you can slow down, then you can choose a better option than the same ol’, same ol’.
So next time you feel the difficult emotions and the same responses are coming out, I want you to think SLOTH:
S - Slow down. Slowly breathe. Push your feet into the floor.
L - Look around. Get out of your head. Notice where you are and what you are doing.
O - Open up to your feelings, don’t fight them, let them flow through you
T - Take notice of your thoughts. You don’t have to act on them, just notice them
H - Head to your values. Remember how you want to treat yourself and others and try to take one small action that’s in line with your values.
The more you practise this, the better you will get at choosing your responses. Practise, practise, practise. Think SLOTH.
Plus sloths always smile, so they must be doing something right. See, I told you you’d get good science here.
So that’s how you press...paws! Get it? Like sloth have paws? Actually I just googled and they have claws. Sorry. Still think SLOTH.