Chapter 4: Self Regulation

The next chapter of our blog takes us into the realm of self-regulation. As we discussed earlier, self-regulation is a fundamental aspect of mindfulness practice. It empowers us to navigate through life’s challenges with greater ease and composure. One key takeaway from this chapter is the profound impact that self-regulation techniques, particularly utilising the breath, can have on creating space within ourselves.

When we engage in self-regulation through conscious breathing and other techniques, we open up a space within us that allows for a pause, a moment of reflection before reacting. This pause is immensely powerful, as it disrupts the usual pattern of instant reactions that we often find ourselves caught up in.

Let me share with you a story that beautifully illustrates the significance of creating space through self-regulation. Imagine yourself in a situation where you feel immense pressure, like being in a heated meeting or facing a highly stressful circumstance. The tension mounts, and you start to experience a rush of stress and overwhelm. In such moments, there is typically a stimulus that triggers our response, almost like machine guns pressing against our ribs.

However, when we practice mindfulness and self-regulation, we introduce a gap between the stimulus and our response. This gap is where the magic happens. By incorporating breath techniques, body awareness, and mindfulness practices, we create a space that allows us to step back, observe, and consciously choose our response.

Let’s consider this scenario from a personal perspective. I’ve been dedicated to meditation for over 30 years, never missing a day. People often ask me what I gain from this practice, what it does for me. Upon reflection, I realise that meditation helps me cultivate that space between stimulus and response. It enables me to make mindful decisions, exercise my power of choice, and see the bigger picture. With regular practice, the space within me expands, offering even more room for conscious decisions and intentional responses.

In a recent client session, I had the privilege of working with an individual who belonged to a gang. He carried an air of bravado and power, yet underneath, he was struggling. As I introduced the concept of creating space through self-regulation, he began to grasp the true power it held. The ability to choose his response rather than simply reacting to stimuli became a revelation for him.

I asked him, “Can you put a price tag on this newfound power? Is it comparable to the external trappings of wealth and influence?” We both agreed that its value far surpassed any material possession. The ability to pause, to take a single breath, and allow that moment of space held immense significance. It was a testament to his flexibility and strength, enabling him to navigate life’s challenges with grace and wisdom.

So, whether it’s a momentary pause or a series of conscious breaths, the act of creating space within ourselves is an invaluable tool. It grants us the ability to respond rather than react, to bring mindful awareness to our thoughts, emotions, and actions. By heightening our awareness of the body and our surroundings, we open doors to a richer, more present experience of life.

In conclusion, self-regulation and the creation of space through techniques like conscious breathing and body awareness are pivotal aspects of mindfulness practice. They empower us to navigate life’s ups and downs with greater ease and intentionality. By embracing these practices, we tap into a wellspring of power and wisdom that resides within us, ultimately leading us to a more fulfilling and mindful existence.


Disclaimer: Parts of this blog post is an overview of Melo Calarco’s book, and we highly recommend reading the complete work to delve deeper into the transformative power of self-awareness.


Purchase the book here.

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