Some days require more patience than others.  When emotions are flaring and self-management is fleeting, push the pause button.   Visualize pressing a button to stop, breathe and take inventory.  In these few seconds, you have a chance to note where you are and what you want. Pausing gives an opportunity to stay active instead of reactive to people and/or situations.  Remaining active and present allows for more possibilities in responses.  Increasing chances for a better outcome.
Sometimes it’s tricky to decipher what is active (present and calm enough) or reactive (anxiety driven).  Below is a flow chart for clarity.

When active and present, problem solving attempts produce multiple (3 or more) possibilities.   There is contemplation of choices and next steps.  Information is gathered by asking yourself questions beginning with what, when, how, who, and/or where.   In a present state of mind, a decision will be made after you’ve weighed your options.
Problem solving attempts made when reactive or anxious limits are choices (a maximum of two). Reactive solutions usually boil down to fight or react right now versus flee, avoid or do nothing.  There are no follow up questions, it comes down to picking A or B with an urgency to decide immediately.
Once you’ve paused, it’s time to make a plan.  If reactive, the best plan is to walk away and take some time to be calm enough.  Once calm and present, ideas and solutions flow with greater clarity.
Follow Sarah Ward on Twitter and Pinterest.