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Stopping the Trouble Train...

“Shall I refrain? Or should I press start?"

There it is again. The trigger, the button pushed, the turning word…You cross the line and are run over by runaway emotion that make it impossible to keep your center. You can’t think clearly anymore. You jump on the Trouble Train and you’re either hurting yourself or someone else in some way. (check out Larry Mosely's vivid poetry below)

*"Shall I refrain? Or should I press start?”

Refrain. Refrain for just 6 seconds.

Why pause for 6 seconds before acting out? Because in just about 6 seconds, the cortex (thinking/reasoning part of the brain) can catch a train to your amygdala (the part of your brain where your feelings take place) and create a calm, conscious, thoughtful response.

You don't have to say or do something you will regret later. Your brain can help you! Research says that this movement from emotional overwhelm to rationality takes about 6 seconds.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5,'re back to yourself agan!

For the Six Second Pause to work, the brain has to focus on cortical thinking. How? Here’s some ideas (warning, some sound silly, but they work):

Count ten exhales

Look around the room and find and say aloud 5 things you find that are blue

Write or say aloud the names of six of the Seven Dwarfs

Write or say aloud the last 4 movies you’ve seen

Say the alphabet backward

Look at your palm and draw its lines without looking at your paper

Come up with your own that work for you. And, why not create a snazzy little card to keep handy when you need it in the heat of the moment.

Whoohoo! The Trouble Train just left town!


*By Larry Mosley, a member of the San Quentin Shakespeare Theatre group Patience is time subtracting impulse From movement Opening key windows of opportunity Displaying strength in the control Of one's self Awaiting that critical moment To be free Patience escapes us... Releasing unrelenting rage from the grips of emotion. Venting Fumes of Anger... Deeply Rooted in pain. Forecasting cloud storming hate In the spirit Threatening bolts of violent flames. Shall I refrain? Or should I push start? Questions I believe patience inquires Of the heart. Beats . . . pounding in slow steady pace. Sometimes even the grapes of passion we love Must ripen to taste. Be patient, Be still, I know the Good Lord will Answer these, bending knees, as I pray To be healed. From Affliction Drug Addiction Chaos, prejudice, and restrictions Searching for Calm in moments Of waning conviction. And so I envision The countless decisions That we must face in this evolution Of time Slowly worming our way through the Path of experience. Dreaming Hoping Longing to do nothing But Ahhh... Fly

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