It’s easy to react without thinking when our buttons get pushed. Often we say or do things that we later regret. We can cause stress in ourselves and others and strain our relationships.
Responding is when we speak and act after contemplation of the best course of action. It often results in a better outcome. Sometimes our best response is to say or do nothing. At other times we act in a way that will bring the most benefit to all concerned.
How can we respond instead of reacting?
1. Get into the habit of pausing before speaking and acting. Knee jerk reactions normally come from an unconscious place.
2. When an argument is beginning, say less or nothing or perhaps change the topic
3. If possible avoid communicating when already upset or when we are tired or not feeling well.
4. Incorporate centering practices such as prayer or meditation or deep breathing or sitting quietly into your daily life. These practices calm and clear the mind and make it less reactive. It’s helpful to take regular breaks to re-center.
5. Become less rigid in our viewpoints. Don’t beat yourself up if you have reacted instead of responding. Apologize or make amends if appropriate and vow to do better next time.
What works for you?