Pause Life Coaching

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Numerous trips to the ER were a consequence. Sophie was always impulsive. As a child, she loved risky activities like swinging in the trees and waiting until the last minute to cross the street in front of an oncoming car. She was a daredevil with her bike, including dirt bikes and ATV’s as she got older. She went as fast as possible. She loved the adrenaline rush. She had a hard time keeping friends because she would react in the heat of the moment, hurting their feelings or would blurt inappropriate things. As a teen, bingeing on alcohol, drugs and food became habitual. Now, as a young adult, impulsive decision-making – quitting school, quitting jobs impulsively and spending money without considering a budget – was common.

The pause button is the idea that the small space between a stimulus and our reaction, that tiny little moment, is a moment of pure freedom.

 Stimulus-Reaction

That little dash is our choice, to use however we want. We can choose to react in a way that makes a situation worse, or better. It’s our choice, our freedom to do with what we want.

For some living with ADHD, their little dash, their space between a stimulus and their reaction, is SUPER small. They barely give themselves time to take in a situation before reacting to it.

Decision-making is part of the prefrontal cortex, which is the thinking part of the brain behind your forehead. It is the last part of the brain to mature and this doesn’t occur until our 20s. This explains impulsive decision-making in teens. People with ADHD have an even greater delay in the maturity of this part of the brain, which may explain some of their impulsive traits.

There are certainly consequences to a child being impulsive. Why did you throw the snowball? Don’t you know that’s wrong? But as we age, impulsivity can have greater consequences across our lifespan. One of the three most frequently seen types of impulsivity, include impulsive experimentation with drugs or alcohol. Impulsive driving can lead to higher incidence of accidents and sexual impulsivity can lead to increased incidence of sexually transmitted diseases.

Certainly, a pause button would help. Instead of immediately making a choice, use the pause button and delay it to a later time, when you can deal with this choice more effectively. Talk it over with someone else, or imagine what your best pal, friend or coach would say about the choice.

The benefits of self-control cannot be overstated. Every study shows that those who excel at delaying gratification are happier, more successful, have better relationships, and the list goes on.

Pausing can help you to:

  • Stop reacting to your child’s behavior and become curious about what is causing the behavior.
  • Build and maintain friendships. Use the pause to listen, really listen. Use it to filter your responses.
  • Control your emotions and filter those catastrophic thoughts that create unnecessary drama, worry and anxiety.
  • Push your initial judgments aside. Eliminate any pre-misconceptions. Open yourself up to new perspectives.
  • Learn compassion and empathy for others and yourself!
  • Grow self-awareness of what’s getting in your way of being who you want to be and doing what you want to do.

If you’ve ever been around someone who has the ability to think before they react…gosh, it’s a beautiful thing. But, how do you learn to pause?

  • A good starting place is identifying your impulsive risks. For example, is it in the form of communication, spending money, bingeing on things, driving? These can be considered “critical moments” of impulsivity. Getting these on the radar is very important.
  • A second point is noticing when these critical moments occur. For example, does impulsivity come up in the context of being overly emotional or reacting to certain situations? Do alcohol or drugs contribute to impulsive choices?
  • Breath! Practice the art of taking a breath BEFORE jumping into all the yelling and screaming.
  • Come up with a signal or word with those close to you that tells you this would be a good time to pause. For example, have someone give you the time-out hand signal if you begin to interrupt or blurt during a conversation.
  • Practice mindfulness meditation. This can be so hard for those with ADHD. It’s called practice for a reason. Paying attention to our own physical and emotional triggers and responses is critical in knowing when to hit the pause button.
  • A helpful mantra might be “Just think about it.”

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What can coaching do for you? It can help in:

  1. Identifying your specific strengths and weaknesses
  2. Setting realistic goals
  3. Learning to prioritize
  4. Finding tips and tools to stay on track and meet deadlines
  5. Utilizing coping strategies without giving up; becoming more resilient
  6. Improving organizational and time management skills
  7. Self-motivating and ending procrastination
  8. Setting up your life according to your needs
  9. Improving self-care, such as exercise and nutrition
  10. Creating self-confidence, self-compassion and ending negative self-talk

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  1. Don’t dismiss anything as impossible. Imaginary boundaries, or in other words, our beliefs about what is possible, hold us back. Think of when an athlete breaks a world record.  Everyone believes it is impossible before he breaks the record. Now the bar has been raised, or the boundaries expanded, and other athletes use what they know is possible as newfound motivation. Their beliefs of what is possible have shifted. It is when we know something, we strive for greater possibilities. People who see possibilities beyond what everyone else knows are the people who believe anything is possible. They are the people who achieve what everyone else believes is impossible.
  2. Be certain you can overcome any obstacle. Deal with each obstacle one at a time until they have zero effect on your life.  Ask for help. Try a new approach. Be 100% confident the work to knock those obstacles out of your way are worth the reward of achieving your goal and purpose. Imagine two pictures. The first, what does your life look like if you do nothing and let those obstacles win? Second, what does your life look like after you’ve overcome those obstacles and are reaping the rewards…what are the rewards? Go knock those obstacles down! Your reward is waiting!
  3. You’ve got a new opportunity or an idea, you must take action now!  Intention isExtraordinary ADHD Life great, but action gets results! You don’t own a goal until you take action. One action leads to another action. A series of actions creates momentum. But you’re wondering, what if I make a mistake? We’re human. It is likely to happen. We make a wrong turn. We eventually find our way back. What did you learn on your detour? Take your new wisdom and knowledge with you to your next action. Don’t let a wrong turn slow your momentum. By taking action and staying in action, the universe recognizes your intentions and opens up opportunities you never considered.
  4. Do away with procrastination once and for all! Procrastination is a limiting belief (remember limiting beliefs in number 1?) that taking action now will be more painful than doing nothing now. Procrastination can destroy your chance to take advantage of an opportunity. Your opportunity becomes a missed opportunity. If you wait too long, showing up as your best-self is put in jeopardy. There is nothing to gain in waiting. Act now!
  5. Get clear on what you really want in life! Determine the best path to your goal. Focus on your actions, but leave the vision of your completed goal and its rewards as the backdrop. Get tripped up in the actions? Losing momentum? Focus on the backdrop. Imagine how it feels to live your life with the rewards of achieving your goal. Now, get back in action!

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