“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor Frankl
I am on a mission to respond more and react less. Why? Because I have realized this is a big key to my sanity and to wellness in general. Every time we react we create a lot of unnecessary stress when to avoid all that we could just pause, take a breath and choose to respond. This “pause” between circumstance and your behavior is what contributes to gaining a sense of control and well-being in your life. This is not only the key to wellness but the key to personal growth as you realize you have a choice and that you can create your reality based on the choice you make.
When you react you are coming from your personality, your past conditioning and your habits. Reactions are unconscious and we usually don’t even know we are reacting until things have settled down and we’ve had a chance to reflect. A reaction is usually accompanied by a whirlwind of emotions because when we react, we do so very quickly and without thinking. These emotions can trigger stress in our body and mind which overtime can lead to distress, dis-ease and illness the more and more we react.
When you respond you come more from your soul, your authentic self which is the wiser more compassionate part of you. I really want to emphasize this here because this is why I created my blog; to help people express more from their authentic self (soul) and less from their conditioned self (personality). A response is always more authentic than a reaction.
When you respond you are taking RESPONSIBILITY for your words and actions because you are consciously making a choice instead of going into default reactive mode.
It takes a lot of practice and a level of maturity to respond more and react less. We are learning to control our emotions instead of letting our emotions control us. This is a very challenging practice but one that will payoff tremendously leading to a greater sense of well-being and confidence that you can handle whatever comes your way.
Here are some steps you can take to get you started.
HOW TO RESPOND MORE AND REACT LESS
1. STOP and PAY ATTENTION. Notice when you are in a challenging situation, when something or someone has triggered you.
2. BREATHE. Take a few deep breaths to stay calm and watch your reaction go away.
3. CHOOSE. Determine what your options are and make a conscious decision? Decide on the best course of action then ACT.
4. REFLECT. What did you learn from the situation?
My daily yoga practice has helped me learn this process. There are many challenging yoga poses that are held for long times and when I learned to breathe through the challenge and to remain calm I could then choose to find some ease in the pose instead of struggling to do the pose perfectly. After all yoga is not about the how you do the pose or how you look in the pose. It is about being present and when you are present you can respond.
Too many of us spend the majority of our time in reactive mode. We can’t help but react; it’s going to happen, but can you respond more and react less in life’s challenging situations?
You have a choice and there is power in that choice.
Whenever you consider the best way to respond you can improve your life. Relationships will be better, your health will improve and you find your life flowing much more harmoniously. Be patient with yourself as you learn this new way of acting in your life.
Practice this today: while in traffic, in conversations with your family, at work, at the gym or while in line at the grocery store. Try it and let me know how it goes.