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  • Writer's pictureLilly Ismail

The Power of a 90-Second Pause: Transforming Reactions into Thoughtful Responses

In our fast-paced world, it's easy to fall to immediate reactions in the face of challenges. However, there's a simple yet powerful technique that can make all the difference – the 90-second pause.



How to Take a 90-Second Pause:

1. Recognize the Trigger:

The first step is to become aware of the trigger. Whether it's a frustrating email, a disagreement, or an unexpected challenge, acknowledge the emotional response brewing within you.

2. Pause and Breathe:

Physically pause your actions, and take a deep breath. This simple act helps to calm the nervous system and allows you to regain control over your emotions. Count to three during each inhale and exhale.

3. Assess Your Emotions:

During the pause, identify and label your emotions. Are you feeling angry, frustrated, or anxious? Understanding your emotional state is crucial for crafting a thoughtful response.

4. Consider the Consequences:

Think about the potential outcomes of your immediate reaction. Will it escalate the situation? Could it strain relationships? Taking this moment to reflect on consequences can guide you toward a more constructive response.

5. Shift Your Perspective:

Try to see the situation from different angles. Consider the other person's point of view or think about the bigger picture. This shift in perspective can lead to more empathy and understanding.

6. Choose a Response:

After the 90-second pause, you are better equipped to choose a response consciously. Whether it's addressing the issue diplomatically, seeking clarification, or simply letting go, your response will be more intentional and thoughtful.


Impact of the 90-Second Pause:

1. Improved Communication:

By taking a moment before responding, you can communicate more clearly and effectively. This helps prevent misunderstandings and fosters better relationships.

2. Enhanced Decision-Making:

The pause allows you to approach decision-making with a calm mind. This often leads to more rational choices and reduces the likelihood of making impulsive, regrettable decisions.

3. Stress Reduction:

Practicing the 90-second pause regularly can contribute to overall stress reduction. It promotes emotional regulation and resilience in the face of challenges.


Downsides of Reacting Impulsively:

1. Damaged Relationships:

Reacting without thinking can strain relationships, as impulsive responses may be hurtful or offensive. Taking a pause helps preserve connections and avoid unnecessary conflicts.

2. Missed Opportunities:

Immediate reactions may lead to missed opportunities. By refraining from impulsive behavior, you open yourself up to new possibilities and more favorable outcomes.

3. Regrettable Actions:

Reacting in the heat of the moment often results in actions that you later regret. The 90-second pause serves as a protective barrier, preventing regrettable behavior.



In a world that values quick responses, the 90-second pause stands out as a valuable tool for personal and professional growth. By incorporating this practice into your daily life, you can navigate challenges with grace, respond thoughtfully, and build stronger connections with those around you. Remember, the real power lies not in the speed of your reaction but in the mindfulness of your response.

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