In life, we have a superpower called ‘choice’. At any given moment in life, whether it is an everyday or stressful life situation, we have a choice. Choice is:
- The right, power, and opportunity to decide.
- Freedom, which is a luxury and not to be taken for granted.
- A gift.
When thinking about how to respond versus react in any given situation, it is important to always remember that you have a choice. You have the choice to understand the circumstances you have chosen to be a part of or have found yourself in.
We spoke to Summer Watson, MHS, PhD, and co-host of The Life, Love & Money Show with Summer & Jen and Jen Fontanilla, a certified money coach to understand more about how to regulate our emotions and actually respond instead of reacting. They said,
Dr. Summer Watson, MHS, Ph.D.,
& Ms.Jen Fontanilla,
Certified Money Coach (CMC)tm
There is a distinct difference based on how we respond versus react to a situation. To react is based on a moment and is triggered by a feeling and based on an internal or external factor that stimulates a person to act in a particular way. It is usually done without a lot of thought about the outcome. To respond is a slower action. It is a behaviour that is thought out, that is intentional, and is an action seeking a specific reaction.
In most cases, it would be desirable to respond versus react. When we respond to a situation, it is important to consider two factors. The first being your goal—what is the goal of your purpose? The next is, what is the desired result of your intended action. When you take the opportunity to think about these two specific questions, you have a much better idea about the reason for a response versus a reaction.
How To Regulate Your Emotions
The next step to practice is how to regulate or adjust your emotions, thoughts, and behaviours. The following are a few tips on how you can regulate your emotions to slow down and respond to a given situation.
- Stop and breathe! Take in some deep breaths through your nose, hold the breath for a few seconds, and exhale those breaths fully with pursed lips as if you are whistling.
- Close your eyes and visualise a place that is relaxing and begin to focus on relaxing your forehead, mouth, eyes, shoulders, and neck and feel the rest of your body ease into calmness.
- Be present at the moment and filter out the chaos and look at the facts of the situation instead of all of the commotion, which will help you move through the situation with intention.
- Remember, the words and phrases you use in everyday life and in high-stress situations create stimuli in the brain. So when you are repetitive about angst provoking or frightening words or phrases, this has the potential to be one of the causes of increased reaction versus response. Think about the words and phrases you use on a frequent basis and what messages you are giving or feeding your brain.
- Begin with the end in mind. Think about what will happen if you respond a certain way. Will you be good with the outcome and how you decided to approach it? This will also help you think through your actions.
Remember, we all have a choice to respond or react. Our response is based on our thoughts and feelings. As such, we each have the incredible opportunity to act with intention. With the tips provided, you can harness your response and learn how to respond versus react, which will better help support your goals and evoke a positive response from others.
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