Responding vs Reacting

Welcome to another weekly dose of Mental Sunshine

How is your week going so far?

Have you managed to maintain an air of zen calmness… or have you found yourself getting a bit hot under the collar?

We all get stressed sometimes, and we can all end up saying or doing things in the heat of the moment that we later come to regret.

A classic example of this is road rage. People beep their horns, they swear and gesture at each other…

I wonder how many of them get home, calm down and feel a bit ashamed of their behaviour.

Or even continue to dwell on the incident and stay in a state of stress.

When situations like this come along, it is possible to respond rather than react.

There’s a great quote that I read this week.”It is not what is said or done that matters, It is how you react to what is said or done that matters”

When we react, we allow that primitive part of our minds to take over – the one that’s not quite evolved any table manners yet. It senses a threat, and it lashes out.

When we respond, we are able to allow the more evolved part of our brains to come in, calm down the neanderthal and respond calmly and rationally.

This is not an easy, quick fix.

For many of us, when something triggers that neanderthal brain it’s almost as if we are unconscious as it takes over and starts shouting…

But with time and practice, we can learn to come from a space of more conscious awareness.

You should adopt the consciousness of the person you intend to be.

It is not what is said or done that matters.

It is how you react to what is said or done that matters…

This is something you can practice with the smaller things in life.

Like when someone has left the top left off the toothpaste, or not picked up the laundry, or not emptied the dishwasher.

If you feel the frustration rise in you – Stop. Take a deep breath, and then respond calmly.

If we practice on the smaller things, we stand more of a chance when the bigger things crop up in our lives.

And eventually we can become that calm, zen-like person who can cut up on the motorway and just smile serenely…

Let me know how you get on.