Stress is on the increase and the fact is, for the most part, we can’t help being caught in it. And more than half the time, we feel like we’re stuck in a mindset that, even on the smallest things, we impulsively react instead of responding.
But what if we could do things differently? What if instead of reacting to the small things, we consciously start responding to ensure they aligned just fine with our much larger goals in life?
Responding or Reacting
Before anything, you have to understand that there’s a clear difference between “reacting” and “responding.” Responding means “to answer” and answering means that if we’re asked something, we think about it, then respond based on current situations.
Reactions, on the other hand, are often impulsive; they are automatic from our experiences. We repeat an action, one that is often not directly connected to our present moment. If this sounds like you, even just on the odd occasion, you need to revamp this mechanism.
Below, we’ll walk through some suggestions to help you achieve that and get you into response mode. This is important because learning how to “respond” instead of “reacting” in many situations is essential to better serve your larger personal or professional goals. Read on!
Put Yourself Together
Before you react, understand that it is tough to make a good decision when under pressure, yes, clarity can be tough at that moment. Let your initial emotional “reaction” pass and then address the situation again to see how differently you respond this time.
If you don’t feel up to it emotionally or physically, you can put off deciding until you’re in a calmer state of mind. If you’re up to it, repeat the process, this time giving yourself time to work through your old conditioning. You can even go for a drive or take a long walk to give you plenty of time to relax and calm those thoughts and emotions.
This works every time and one of the simplest methods is the breathing meditation – silently counting your breath for a particular duration. It works by bringing the unconscious into consciousness. Done right, it can pervade all that we do.
When we practice this, we’ll over time see things for what they truly are not just what we have come to believe of them, and then we respond appropriately.
You can never go wrong with a health break. Just like driving or taking a walk, besides providing you with adequate time to think, physical activities allow you to let out that locked in anxious energy. Studies even back this up. In one study of college students, the ones engaged in weekly exercises had considerably reduced feelings of depression, hopelessness, and were less suicidal.
So, engage in helpful physical activities such as going to the gym. Do it mindfully and if you like, you can include music. This way, you effortlessly float through life’s challenges and create solutions from a clean slate when the time comes.
We’ve all done this at some points in our lives; we react to life-based on our internal logic. This “logic” had been formed at an earlier point in our lives. We often get bogged down because problems are seldom resolved with the attitudes or mindsets that birthed them.
To gain perspectives other than those from our own limited mental faculties, we can talk to someone other than ourselves. Soon enough, we’ll realize that our previously formed ways of doing or seeing things may not really be the way they truly are or should be. This in return will enable us to respond in more helpful ways instead of just reacting.
Shut Out the Gadgets
If you’re like millions of others, the first thing you probably check when you wake might be your email or your social media pages. While these may be business or work-related, the problem with the behavior is we think we’re getting the important stuff done. In reality, we may only add more on our plate to react on later, and eventually, we’re caught in the same old series of reactions.
You can do things differently; instead of reaching for your tab the first thing in the morning, try to get yourself together by either meditating, reading something brief to set your day’s tone or just get yourself a nice warm cup of coffee. And don’t worry, your messages will still be there waiting when you’re done, but this time, you’ll be better prepared to respond to them with a much clearer mind.
Today, make a deliberate effort to stop reacting and start responding instead. At first, you may not get it right but if you learn to watch your reactions mindfully, you’ll get better at it. And you have to get better at it! For one, being able to respond instead of reacting in business, not just in your personal life, is extremely important.
Each new day comes with promises and decisions that could make or mar your professional life. When you habitually react to life, you’re acting from vestiges of old habits and this is certainly not the recipe you need to build a successful professional life or enterprise.
For all-around success and satisfaction; personal and professional, you need to be ready at all times to respond calmly and rationally in all situations. Respond only after you’ve observed with intensity and self-awareness. When you truly begin to practice response, you do not jump into conclusions because you have learned to see things from several angles and you understand that your opinions or preconceived notions about issues may not necessarily be the best one or even the only one for the situation.
Overall, by consciously choosing to respond instead of reacting, you become a more thoughtful and compassionate person. Who wouldn’t want to be around such a person?