To React or to Respond…

For the month of April I am participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. You can learn more about the challenge here:

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My theme this year is Keep Moving Forward!

To React or To Respond

‘Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? ~Lao Tzu

Quote How deep is the mud

They say that most of what happens to us in our lives is a direct response to how we have reacted to the stuff that happens to us and those around us.

None of us wants to react badly or wants bad things to happen, I hope.

The secret is to learn not to react. When we pause, breathe, think about the situation and then respond rationally the outcome has a better chance of being positive.

This time of year I can’t help thinking of another ‘R’ word, road rage. Our gut wants us to react by slowing down when someone tailgates us. A safer choice would be to respond by moving over and letting that car pass us by. That choice will ensure you live another day because statistics prove inciting someone who is raging will end with you being injured or killed. I know this for a fact because on April 26, 1999 my brother was beaten to death in a random road rage attack.

The secret to a more mindful life is in training ourselves to stop, breathe and think before reacting poorly. When we learn to pause we almost always respond in a more positive manner.

It isn’t an easy skill to learn, it takes the choice to be mindful and practice.

  • Relax when someone is speaking to you. Listen to the entirety of what they are saying before pausing, breathing, thinking and responding.
  • Remove yourself from any situation that has a chance to become toxic. Go for a walk or a run. Exercise releases dopamine (a natural feel good chemical) so you will not be able to stop yourself from feeling better.
  • Realize that everyone is different and entitled to their own opinion. It is not your job to change the mind of someone you don’t agree with. You are not the idiot whisperer. Take a deep breath and move on.
  • Relearn patience by breathing in through your nose to the count of six. Count to six while letting the breath out through your mouth. Practice this throughout your day, before getting a drink, answering the phone, going into a stressful meeting etc…

How do you stop yourself from reacting angrily?

Keep Moving Forward

I love being part of AJ’s A-Z Team! We are watching you!

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