The Power of Pausing

First published 2014. To view the latest Heads Up content, click here.

What Would You Do?

Scientific studies show that people who exhibit self-control in making decisions enjoy greater success in life, as well as minimize negative outcomes. Studies also show that practicing pausing is a way to improve your chances of success. In this work sheet, you’ll find exercises that help you think about pausing in various situations to consider outcomes or consequences.

Directions: Apply the following three questions to the scenarios further down. For each of the scenarios (A, B, and C), record your answers to the questions on a sheet of paper.

Question 1) What do you think you would do?

Question 2) What is one way that you could pause in this situation?

Question 3) What is a negative outcome that could happen if you don’t pause?

Scenario A:
As you drive some friends home from school, there is a lot of gossip in the car about who’s taking who to the prom, and you’re waiting to hear if the person you like is still available. Your phone buzzes with an update. You want desperately to see what it says.
Scenario B:
You’re at a concert with friends. The person next to you offers you alcohol. It feels like everyone is looking at you.
Scenario C:
You get home from what must have been the craziest night of your life. Your friends made some really bad decisions, and you captured it all on your phone. You want to show your friend who was sick and stayed home. The easiest way is to post it online.

Now Try This:

Refer to the article “Pushing Pause” to answer these questions on a sheet of paper.

1. Identify a situation in which you find it difficult to pause.

2. Which brain areas are at work in the decision-making process, and what are their roles in making it difficult for you to pause in the situation you identified above?

3. What are three things you could practice doing to help you pause in this situation?

4. What are two positive things that could result from pausing in this situation?

Download and print a copy of this work sheet (PDF).



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