In my last post I promised I would teach you a trick to help you master the REALADULTS skill of Stopping. (Remember that REALADULTS is my mnemonic that contains all ten essential adult skills making for a truly emotionally competent individual: R=restraint, E=engagement, A=anxiety modulation, L=LVAC, A=anger modulation, D=deliberate living, U=unconditional positive regard, L=living with pain and failure, T=thank you/I’m sorry, S=stopping.)
In order to truly excel in life and to fly as high as our potential will take us, we must first learn how to STOP.
You know what I mean by stopping: not stopping while glancing at the paper or the T.V. I also don’t mean stopping while working on the computer or what have you. And I don’t mean stopping while worrying, planning, counting, mulling over, etc. But most of all, I definitely don’t mean stopping when you are really just simply waiting to get moving again.
No, what I am going to teach you is how to really, truly, and utterly STOP. You will learn to pause your life for a moment. And it will be a struggle at first. In fact, the mere fact of this struggle indicates just how thoroughly we’ve been trained to just keep on chugging along in life without ever learning to truly be still. We have been trained to live a reactive life, not a deliberate one.
Ok, ready for the trick?
Take a watch or clock that has a seconds hand (yes, you can use a digital timer), and simply watch that seconds hand tick around for one full rotation.
Sounds simple right?
Well, try it.
Not so simple is it. In fact, that minute probably felt like an eternity to you! I’ve had people come up with some pretty ingenious ideas on how to cheat this technique.
So no, you can’t watch T.V. or listen to music while doing it. You can’t pop popcorn or watch water boil either.
The key to this trick is to learn to be still and to learn what your body does while it’s trying to be still. In other words, expect your body to rebel; to try to get up and go. But don’t you let it! Feel the anxiety and strife,…and then let it pass.
“And”, you ask, “just what do I do if I’ve mastered the one minute trick?”
Well, that’s easy.
When you’d just as soon do another minute as you would move on with your day, THEN you’re ready to quit. You’ve truly stopped. Congratulations.
Anthony Ferraioli, M.D.