There are so many opportunities for us to become angry and frustrated. The way we respond to these situations makes a difference in our overall sense of peace.
Do we react at the way the driver just cut you off by screaming and pounding our fists on the steering wheel? Or, do we act and make a conscious decision to let it go and decide to let the next car in front of us without trying to edge it out?
When we get angry at work, do we take it out on our family at home without even thinking of the cause of our anger?
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.Charles R. Swindoll
Now there are times the reaction is the best choice, as in the slamming of the breaks in the previous example. If you had to think about it, you would not stop in time before slamming into the back of the other car.
Most often, however, acting instead of reacting is the better choice. I have developed a habit/mantra for myself every day coming home from work. When I reach a particular point in my commute, I stop thinking of work and say words of Thanksgiving for my job, my home, and my family. I don’t discuss work issues with my husband unless it is something I really need to talk about. When I do, I keep my emotions level. I learned this, unfortunately, after many days of feeling my work stress long after I was supposed to be “off the clock.”
Acting is what brings peace and happiness to your mind and body, while reacting brings stress and anger. When you act, it is a conscious choice, your decision to do something. But when you react, you’re responding to an external stimulus that belongs to someone else.
“The reason most people fail instead of succeed is they trade what they want most for what they want at the moment.”Napoleon Bonaparte
Ideas on how to act instead of react:
- Stop and breathe – helps to recognize a healthier reaction to the situation
- Think of what triggers you ahead of time so you are prepared
- Press the Pause button on your mouth
- Put the situation in perspective – am I going to change the situation by reacting?
- Embrace calm – especially in tough situations
Sometimes it is the simple things that can make all the difference in your state of mind. Ensure you are not beginning to react without thoughtful assessment of the situation. Remember, we create our circumstances with our actions and our attitudes. The only person you can change is yourself.