The Power of a Pause for Positive Shift

Positive shift happens when we practice the building blocks of positive psychology. The first letters of the practices that have been shown by research to increase happiness and well-being, happen to spell BE MEASURING. (although it is not usually important to measure them.) The building blocks divide into four areas, with three in each area. These 4 Ps of positive shift are: Power Up, Pause, Purpose, and People.


Many of the building blocks are quite simple and easy, although some take a little more time and effort. Either way, even when we know that they are important to our happiness, we still often fail to make them happen. We may be so busy that we are distracted by other things. Or we may not know enough about how to implement them, or about the science that demonstrates the benefits of practicing them. My goal is to show you how to make positive shift happen with persuasive evidence of the benefits and a simple plan to add them into your life.

Positive shift begins with the power of the pause. SOS is a method used to manage emotions that works like this…

Stop Observe Shift +

Stop – pause
Observe – events → thoughts → feelings
Shift – engage coping skills

The SOS method can be used to insert a mental pause in the seconds before the brain is hijacked by chemical flooding in response to situations that we perceive as threatening. When chemical flooding occurs during a fight or flight response, access to the thinking part of the brain is cut off. It can take 20 minutes to return to normal. When we use the SOS method, we can stop and notice what our body is telling us, and identify our thoughts and feelings. We can then shift to engage coping skills like taking a walk, deep breathing, and disputing irrational thoughts. By inserting a mental pause to add calming techniques and thoughts, we can respond appropriately. This method can be used to make all kinds of positive shift happen. To apply the power of the pause for a positive shift looks very similar:

Stop Observe Shift +

Stop – pause
Observe – events → thoughts → feelings
Shift – to the 4 Ps of positive psychology

With a regular pause, we gain the ability to notice what we are doing, and then choose the right shift from the 4 Ps of positive psychology.

Make Positive Shift Happen

Shift to the positive. If you are in a negative place, use the building blocks to make a shift to the positive. It may not be possible to be completely positive all of the time, but improvement is always an option. Even when times are hard, the building blocks are coping tools that will help.

Shift between the 4 Ps of Positive Shift with the power of the pause. Notice when it may be time to shift your focus to another area. Some of the building blocks require an inner focus, like meditation. Others, like relating and noticing, require an outer focus. Shift from inner to outer focus as needed.

Shift between time perspectives. Many of the building blocks have a focus on a positive present. But for some, a time perspective shift is needed. To aspire to a goal is to look forward to the future, and to notice a happy memory is a positive look back to the past. Shift as needed between your inner child for playfulness and creativity, and your inner adult for self-discipline and strength.


Shift to follow values. The Purpose building blocks of Aspire, Inspire Flow, and Spirituality require knowing your promise so you can show your promise. A value statement or personal mission statement that pinpoints what you do and why provides direction to guide you. Learn how to map your values and more with the Brand and Purpose Toolkit.

Shift to GREAT skills. When you learn and follow the practices within the BE MEASURING framework, you gain a richer personal life and GREAT skills that are in demand in the workplace. The GREAT skills of Goal Setting, Relationships, Emotional Intelligence, A+ Communication Skills, and Time Management Skills, are all part of the building blocks.

The Power of the Pause

Life goes by in such a rush that it is easy to forget about the power of a pause. With a pause we can savor the sweet taste of ice cream, or take a deep breath. With a pause we can consider whether the best choice is an excuse or a goal. With a pause we can think before we react. In the moment that we notice, lies the potential for change. The more we practice awareness, the more we have the ability to pause and make a shift.

Two of the building blocks increase the area of the brain responsible for executive functions, and strengthen our ability to stop, observe, and shift as needed. Use the three step process of SOS for a powerful pause that makes all kinds of positive shift happen.

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

Posted in positive shift

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