In 2016, Mindful reported on something revolutionary happening in the Hillsboro Police Department, less than 25 miles from the city of Portland in an article called “To Pause and Protect”. Police Officers were hanging out in a yoga studio, learning mindfulness. Years of stress, trauma, and tension on the job made it obvious that even these trained professionals need some kind of release to help them cope. What their Lieutenant at the time, Richard Goerling, realized was that the build up of stress was starting to come out in negative ways, which could harm not only the officers, but the people of the community officers are sworn to protect. Goerling explained that how police encounters turn out is largely dependent on how well police officers are in mind, body, and spirit. “If I’m not physically well, that creates some problems,” Goerling illustrated. “If I’m not emotionally well, holistically well, I’m not going to regulate my emotions very effectively. I’m not going to listen very effectively. I’m not going to be empathetic.” The answer was mindfulness training, to help police officers find a way to pause before acting.
Taking a pause is taking a moment of mindfulness. Between the wellspring of emotion you are facing and the impulse to take action based on the energy of that emotion is a moment where you have the opportunity to pause. Within that moment there is the chance to ask yourself some questions, align yourself with your values, and make decisions about what you want to do next.
- Pause and contemplate: What is coming up for you in this moment? What emotions are you experiencing? What feelings are you choosing? Do your reactions seem right or do they seem to be coming from somewhere other than this moment? If you could choose to respond in any given way, what would that be? Is it possible for you to redirect your energy and find a different resolution?
- Pause and consider: Consider the outcomes of this situation if you continue to respond in the direction you’re heading. What do you anticipate the next situation to be- conflict or calm? Consider the options if you choose another route and what you can do to get there.
- Pause and choose: Recognize that you are in power over your choices and no one person or one situation can truly make you feel or behave a certain way. Choose to destress, to regulate, and to act in a wise, compassionate, empathetic way.
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