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Learn How To Respond Instead Of Reacting

May 14, 2022
Learn How To Respond Instead Of Reacting

When we are stressed out, feel under pressure or even resentful we often lash out and react in situations instead of thinking things through. I bet like me, you have also had those moments where you wished you had handled a situation a little better. It may have been where you didn’t speak up, said something mean and hurtful or threw a tantrum.

To learn how to respond instead of reacting we need to understand what each of them means. I’m going to share the reason why we tend to lean towards reacting and then the one simple step to move from reacting to responding. 

What do the terms reacting and responding mean:

REACTING: is an immediate subconscious response due to a rise in emotions (strong feelings) to a situation or event.

RESPONDING: is the act of pausing to review the situation to consider the available solutions after analysing the full scope of the situation to formulate the best action forward. 
 

 

SO WHY SHOULD WE RESPOND INSTEAD OF REACTING?

 

Simply put, when we respond to a situation we give ourselves the opportunity to take a birds eye view of the situation to access the best outcome for ourselves. 
 
Our emotions are powerful drivers. We all know the saying when we feel good we do good. Feeling good helps us to take action, we wake up happy and motivated to tackle anything coming our way. 
 
Yet when something happens that triggers us we go into fight and flight mode, causing us to react immediately to a situation. That reaction occurs because we feel like we are under threat. And in today’s modern society we don’t have a lot of real danger threatening us as we move through life. What we do have are uncomfortable situations that stir our emotions. 
 
When our emotions steer the ship we do all kinds of crazy things. Now it’s not to say following the feel-goods is off the table. What I’m talking about is when we get upset, angry, or frustrated our feisty side comes out to play and that doesn’t always go to plan. 
 
Being led by our emotions in uncomfortable situations doesn’t allow us to access the bigger picture.  A simple question I often ask myself is – what do I want the outcome to be? 
 
EMOTIONS >> lead to  >> reactions (unconscious behaviour)
 

 

The ONE thing you need to start Responding instead of reacting.

Like all good things, it sounds easier said than done. But I want to let you know that the biggest secret to life is – that it’s a journey, it’s not a race and with all new things it’s a practice. And with practice, we learn how to create change. 

The one thing we need to switch over to being a person who responds is to pause. 

Pausing is creating a moment to check in with yourself, to honour the feelings that are coming up and to choose the best way forward. 

The pause allows us to analyse the whole scenario and what we want from the situation. It gives us a moment to ask how we should handle it, instead of allowing our emotions and past patterns to decide for us what we should do. 

Nothing in life is the same, the unknown is constantly around us. And when we practice pausing it sharpens our awareness to when our emotions rise and get the better of us. 

 

MASTERING THE PAUSE

★ Take a breathe (count to 10) before speaking/reacting.

★ Ask yourself what is the outcome you want and what is the best course of action in this moment. 

★ Spend time daily calming your nervous system.

★ Be patient with yourself that you will adapt the ability to pause (it’s a practice).

★ Identify scenarios that trigger you and prepare for them.

★ Acknowledge the feelings that rise and take a step back (allow time to process them before responding)

Learning to pause in big moments that we usually just jump in and go a little awol takes practice. From my experience the best way to start catching yourself out in these moments is to calm the nervous system. When we are not running in a heightened state each day we are more open to what life throws at us. It’s like we have the resources to make better choices, to tackle obstacles and then face them with grace. 

Cultivating awareness is about coming back to the current moment and giving it our attention. When we are calm we can see the present moment enabling us to connect to our breath which is a total power move because those few seconds give us insight. 

Insight is wisdom. 

If you have any other tips to creating a pause I would love to hear them. 

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