Journal, pen and cup sitting on ottoman

Asserting Power with The 5 Second Rule

I am listening to 'The 5 Second Rule' audio book written and narrated by Mel Robbins, American Presenter & Author, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. 

I love her sense of humour and her ability to keep it real.  Her story is one of success born out of hitting rock bottom.  She brings the listener on this journey of hope and it is this hope that is the inspiration for my first Blog!

What is the Rule?

The 5 Second Rule was born out of despair, out of frustration, out of a desire to create change.   Mel Robbins explains how you can assert power over your life by just counting down from five to one over the course of five seconds and acting when you reach one. She says "If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within five seconds or your brain will kill it" 

How does it work?

First the science bit...

The 5 Second Rule works by activating the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for decision-making and taking action. When you count down from 5 to 1 you shift your focus from your thoughts and feelings to the physical act of counting. This interrupts the patterns of overthinking and self-doubt that often hold us back.

By the time you reach 1 you've created a window of opportunity to take action. This technique helps you bypass your brain's natural resistance and jumpstart your motivation. It's a simple but effective way to overcome inertia and make progress towards your goals.

So it got me thinking, how can The 5 Second Rule influence my life?

And the answer came in 2 forms.  The influence it can have on me personally and the influence it can have on me as a parent to my two neurodivergent children.

Firstly me......

When I understand the rule and its simplicity I realise that every single day I am presented with opportunities to use it.

Alarm goes off at 5.30am....time to get up for my gym class....and all the thoughts come flooding in.   It's too's too can go went to bed late so you deserve to stay in one will know you didn't go...etc etc.  And so I tested it.... on said morning the alarm went off....reflex reaction was to press the snooze button....which I did and as I lay there all the thoughts came flooding in, all the reasons why I didn't need to go to my class and then I decided in that moment to implement The 5 Second Rule.  Without hesitation I started counting down from 5 to 1 and then boom...I was out of the bed and getting dressed for the gym.

The rule was also used to stop me eating a whole bag of sharing crisps by myself, stopped me doom scrolling on social media and instead knock one of the tasks of my to do list and finally speak up in a difficult situation where my natural reaction was to stay silent.

Then My family....

When it comes to using The 5 Second Rule with my children I do so with a different focus.  While the focus for me personally is to take action the focus with my children is to not react. 

Tara Brach, American Psychologist & Author has written a book called Radical Acceptance and in her book she refers to a practice called The Sacred Pause.

The Sacred Pause is a simple yet powerful practice that involves intentionally pausing in the midst of our daily activities. It is a moment of conscious awareness where we step out of autopilot mode and connect with the present moment. This practice allows us to observe our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations without judgment or reactivity.

In moments of stress, where my nervous system is activated and being pushed to its limits I use The 5 Second Rule & The Sacred Pause....I count down from 5 to 1 and I breathe, I observe my thoughts & emotions and I endeavour in that moment to react with kindness and compassion.

I recently used this practice in my home at dinner time......  So I have two fussy eaters who will eat a certain food one day and then decide the next time it is served to them they hate it and are never eating it again.  So in moments like this where I am feeling frustrated, confused, and generally frazzled I will count down from 5 to 1, I will take 3 strong breaths and I will put my hand on my heart area and say in my head I am grateful for my children.  This exercise allows me to bring myself back into my body and distract me from acting with anger.....which would inevitably lead to guilt and shame.

How will it benefit me long term?

When you count down from 5 to 1, you activate your prefrontal cortex and shift your focus away from your doubts and fears. This interrupts the cycle of negative thoughts and allows you to take control of your actions.

Additionally, the 5 Second Rule helps to build self-confidence and momentum. Each time you use the rule to take action, you reinforce the belief that you are capable of making positive changes in your life. Over time, this builds a habit of taking immediate action and reduces the impact of fear and self-doubt.

The Sacred Pause is a gateway to mindfulness, the practice of being fully present in the moment. By cultivating mindfulness, we can experience life more deeply, savouring the simple joys and finding meaning in everyday experiences.

In conclusion....

Mel Robbins' 5 Second Rule is a simple yet powerful technique that can help you overcome hesitation and take action. By counting down from 5 to 1 and taking immediate action, you can interrupt negative thought patterns and build momentum towards your goals. So the next time you find yourself hesitating, remember the power of The 5 Second Rule.

The Sacred Pause is a valuable practice that can help us navigate the complexities of modern life with resilience. By taking the time to pause, breathe, and observe, we can cultivate mindfulness, self-awareness, and inner peace. So, the next time you feel overwhelmed or caught up in the busyness of life, remember to take a Sacred Pause and reconnect with the present moment.

For me the practices are helping me unpack unhelpful habits that I've created over time.  Habits that are not intentionally trying to sabotage me or my day, but rather an attempt to fulfil a need. Habits born out of underlying emotions, misguided self love and at times acts of personal survival.

How will you use the practices to assert power in your life?




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