Adults have been putting children in time out for decades, hundreds of years when you take the old Dunce chair into account. Yet, somehow we don’t seem to realize when we should give ourselves a time out. Everyone could use one now and again, regardless of how measured some people are overall.
The time out is intended to give the child time to get hold of their emotions – of course, particularly for a child, it should include vigorous exercise, not sitting still, to rid the body of that kinetic energy. (Wherever do we think that energy is going to go?) But that point is for another time. We assume that through the various methods applied by our caregivers we have developed the skills needed to keep ourselves under control now as adults.
But due to uncertainty, lack of sleep, low blood sugar, a chaotic event, illness, fear, want/need, or many other forces we don’t always have the control that we ought over our own responses. We need to give ourselves a time out moment. A step back, breathe, assess, consider, reconsider opportunity before we speak or act.
People who are more measured by nature are better able to build this need into their interactions. Impulsive people, and all of the others in between measured and impulsive will have to practice awareness first – to identify that they are getting to a point where a time out is a good idea. I have varying success with this recognition myself. When I need it the most, I don’t seem to have the right access.
When I am just a bit stressed, but still aware I realize that I can rely upon my breathing to give me the best clue. When it becomes shallow and tight, I stop whatever I am doing. Then I get moving – this is always a good time for a restroom break – to change my blood flow, plus a change of scenery gives your mind a chance to re-channel thinking – and the physical activity will start to burn some of the psychic energy that is causing the need for a time out moment. I focus on deeper breathing while moving.
We all have a lot on our mind, our plate – whatever – a time out moment now and then to reflect helps immensely.
© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved