This spring, I'm teaching a positive psychology course. I first taught it two years ago, and haven't had the opportunity to teach it since. While it'd be easy to pull out the old syllabus, dust it off, and add a few updates, I rarely do things the easy way.
The truth is, I will most likely use the same structure and a lot of the same materials, but I also want to change things up a little. In the process of looking into new materials, I came across the quote at the top of this post.
I remember reading it before and liking it. Now, however, when worry is a constant companion, triggering immediate and often impatient responses to even small setbacks, it seems really important.
Pausing is essential. Taking the time to breathe, to assess, to be mindful of where we are in the moment pays dividends much larger than the time or effort expended in the pause. But, when we're tired and overwhelmed, our natural inclination is to keep powering forward, checking things off the list and collapsing at the end of the day with a new list to tackle tomorrow.
I've written about pausing and self-care before, but finding this quote again in the context of our current circumstances put a slightly new spin on it. Thinking about the space between stimulus and response reminded me that it's in those small moments -- those milliseconds -- that we can take charge of our responses, even when so much else feels out of our control. And, when we do that, the echoes can be endless.
And this has the potential to be a very positive thing.