Responding never gives you regrets, but reacting surely will.
– Fahim Lashkaria –
Responding and reacting both are responses to any unpleasant situations. But the results are different. The basic difference in both is the mindfulness.
The response is the outcome of mindfulness. Whereas the reaction is the outcome of unconsciousness, frustration, anger, fear, insecurities, or dissatisfaction.
First of all, let us see why it is better to respond than react.
Why Responding Is Better Than Reacting?
We face these situations with everyone around us. Our family, relatives, colleagues, and even acquaintances. We deal with such situations daily. But mostly, we react and not respond. Often we are offensive.
There are times people in our surrounding intrigue us to react to take the benefit from for their good. If you react they get what they want and you feel being used due to your reaction. Some even blame others, but that’s not gonna change things.
Reacting at the moment might give you relief, but it might hurt others, spoil your relationships, and sometimes even ruin your life.
The only thing left with you is regret. I call it the ” If Syndrome”. If we might have not said that, if I wouldn’t have done it this way, and bla bla. But now, it’s all in vain.
You might have reacted using this “IF Syndrome” and today you might be saved from regretting.
You might have seen or heard about people’s stories. They did not have any criminal record. But their reaction made them end up in jail serving life terms.
This is the case for most of us. I ain’t spared from it too. After my graduation when I entered the real world, I was a reactive person. I have lost many things
Acting without thinking, taking things negatively in every aspect. It did more harm to me than any good. But the moment I started responding to situations, things changed. Now, in the worst situations, you will find me normal.
Here are 13 exercises that can help you stay positive in negative situations.
How To Stop Reacting And Start Responding?
Here are 4 things that helped me change my reacting habit to responding habit and I am sure that it will help you too.
Reading this might be easy, but acting on them will be a little bit difficult initially. But it will surely save you from regrets.
Install The Pause Button
Installing a pause button? Sounds abrupt. Right? It’s neurological.
Let me explain.
What I mean here is to make a trigger point in your body. It can be your thumb, index finger, or little finger. Firstly, choose your trigger point. You will touch this finger whenever you are in such situations.
To configure this trigger point you need to do some daily exercise.
- Hold your trigger point/finger.
- Start taking deep breathes.
- Close your eyes and repeat it in your mind. “When I touch this point I feel relaxed and aware.
Initially, do it for 5 minutes continuously. Later on, you can do it while sitting or in your free time. This will configure your trigger point. This is your “Pause Button”.
Next time, whenever you face any abrupt situation, the first thing you need to do is to hold that pause button. The time to configure differs on the level of your mastery. If you are good it will be instantly configured.
Jump Off The Mad Horse
This technique was given to me by the book “The Power” by Rhonda Bryne. This technique refers to any abrupt situation as a mad horse.
Moreover, it states that when you are in such abrupt situations and your mind is flooding with lots of negative thoughts. The longer you stay on the back of that mad horse, the more it will hurt you.
Usually, this technique is helpful during relationship quarrels and anger management. Your partner did something bad to you. You start riding that mad horse.
The more you think the more you find his/her flaws and if you react rather then responding situations will get worse.
This technique has helped me a lot in my career. WIth colleagues, friends, and even business partners. When something happens, I just remind myself of this mad horse and jump off the mad horse.
In simple terms, it is cutting done the chain of thoughts. This will give you cool down your anger and take wise decisions.
Step In Their Shoe
Most of our reactions are there without understanding the opponent’s situation. We need to understand the reason for their abrupt behavior with us. We need to know what problem they are facing, why they are doing things they have never done.
Keeping your ego aside is the first step. Secondly, hear them out. Let them take out their frustration. Then try to know what’s wrong. Try to calm them down and you will see their things go away in some time.
Now, out your leg into their shoe. As you now know the situation, how would you react if you were are their place. I am sure that you will surely realize their pain and will also understand them.
The best example of this is an Indian couple. Usually, the husband works and the wife is a stay-at-home mom. The whole day she has to manage children, tired of doing household chores.
After all of this, if a quarrel happens with in-laws, that’s just like the cherry on the cake. Now husband comes and she dumps the frustration on him. Her husband must first know what she has been through the whole day. This is also vice-versa.
Usually, people don’t do this and thus their relations worsen as time passes. This technique is quite effective for boss-employee relations.
Evaluate Possible Regrets
Applying the “IF Syndrome” during the situation will help evaluate the outcomes. This brings you in present. When you use this technique, it makes you aware of your actions. This gives us time to think properly about what will happen if you react rather than respond.
Usually, this technique is helpful for frustrated people. We often see that when they get angry either they hurt others or sometimes themselves. This can even lead to suicidal thoughts.
Mostly, divorce cases are the results of reactions taken abruptly without thinking. Later on, most couples regret their decisions.
This also happens in our careers. Often people react to situations without thinking and then it leads to unemployment, debt, etc.
You need to be mindful, pause, then consider a thoughtful, compassionate response. You can learn responding to situations instead of reacting by training yourself to do these 4 things.
In other words, you have to train yourself to be a viewer rather than the executioner. When we become the observer, it helps us know our faults and correct them.
It is just a 4 step process. Pause, Jump off the mad horse, step in their shoes, and evaluate the regrets.
If you need any help in doing this you can contact us anytime.
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