I’ve now been an ex-smoker for almost 2 months….I was reading an article today that made me realize one of the main things I liked about smoking….the 6 second pause. Below is some of the article copied from the site (link to article at the end of this entry). Basically, research says that it takes 6 seconds for reaction to sink in. During that 6 seconds, you can often choose your reaction. I think smoking gave me that pause, and now I have to replace it with something else. Interesting. Human beings are so complex. I am def going to introduce this technique to my students. So many lives are affected because of poor emotional intelligence and not making the right choice during that 6 second pause.

Copied from the article:

“For example, if someone interrupts me, my “I feel disrespected guy” might jump up in my head and say, “Hey, that was rude!” If I turn to him and say, “Yeah, that was rude.” He might say, “That person is always interrupting you. I can’t believe it. What a jerk!” And my feeling of being mistreated can increase. A few moments go by, and the same voice shouts again, “Hey! You ought to teach that interrupter a lesson. He doesn’t respect you. Get him.” And the cycle continues – the anger builds and builds. I am fueling it, re-creating it, rehearsing it.

On the other hand, I can choose to not focus on my “I feel disrespected guy.” He jumps up, seizes my attention, and starts his song and dance. What I need is a technique to slow down and listen to all the other voices too. Loud voices can be anger, jealousy, judgement, self-doubt – and even happy feelings – the point is to not have one voice dominating your emotional landscape.
Voila – that’s where the six second pause comes in.

It turns out that those shouting voices mainly hang out in one part of your brain – the limbic ring. So when they get too loud, if you can use another part of your brain for about six seconds, you create a moment in which you can choose a constructive response to your emotions. You can creatively express the emotions you want to express, and you can do so in a manner consistent with your real goals.

If you want to create a pause, try using the analytical part of your brain – the cortex – for six seconds. The cortex does work like math, language, complex visual or auditory processing, and other “high order” thinking. To get an effective pause, you’ll make the cortex work hard on one of those tasks by thinking. And remember, when the “pause button” you’ve used becomes habitual, it is time for a new one.”


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