Taking Control of Your Reactions

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Taking Control of Your Reactions

How good are you at seeing the worst in everything and everyone, by not taking control of your reactions? Have you mastered the habit of reacting negatively; of finding the bad in everything that happens and with everyone that comes in contact with you. I bet you’re a true champion in your raw, untempered reactions to those silly or stupid things your loved one does at times. Now don’t hold back, add some venom to those things you say in reaction.

Once you calm down, do you then regret what you’ve done, what you’ve said. But you won’t share that, you’ll just let it go, wouldn;t be good to let them see you’re sorry for your reaction, it’s like showing a sign of weakness

This is doing nobody any good, particularly not you. and probably not helping your relationships.

Your emotions do not make sound decisions or rational judgments. Making emotional decisions has caused many of the problems in your life, because emotional decisions are almost always based on how you’re feeling at that very moment. Often youre basing your reactions on irrational thinking.

An emotional reaction may cause you to raise your voice, say something you don’t really mean, or commit yourself to something that you don’t really want to follow through with.

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. Epictetus

Life will inevitably have its peaks and valleys.  No one’s life is completely positive.  One of the hardest lessons for us to learn as humans is that we can’t control everything that happens to us.  And yet, there is one thing we do have control over: how we react to what happens to us. Taking control of your reactions is definetely something you can do. You can control your reactions. You have the power to control how you experience your own world.

How often do you react to the words of another in a negative way.D o they hurt you, perhaps make you angry? Simple words, but they can stir such a human response, rage, ire, wrath, irritation and annoyance.

Every day of our lives you and I are presented with situations, circumstances, events, challenges and conversations which will elicit a reaction from us (one way or the other). For some this will produce an emotional, volatile, irrational, spontaneous or even disastrous response, while for other folk it will be a more measured, calm, considerate and strategic response to the happenings in their world. Emotion is what drives us, but logic and intelligence is what should be guiding  us.

So why do we do react stupidly when we know better?

Because in ‘that moment’ our response invariably has nothing to do with logic, understanding or intelligence and everything to do with emotion (insecurity, anger, fear, resentment, jealousy). We don’t actually think, consider or plan, we just react.

Do you actually realise what not taking control of your reactions and allowing this anger to build does to you. I’m not even talking about the way you react to the person speaking the words. When someone becomes angry, it brings physiological and biological changes to the body; their heart rate usually increases; as does their rate of respiration – which also becomes more laboured. Blood pressure rises, the digestive processes are suspended; and as blood is drawn away from the “non-essential” functions like the liver, stomach and intestines to flow to the more “essential” parts for action like the central nervous system and the muscles. The individual’s skin temperature rises and they may feel flushed. Their muscles tense, they become agitated, restless – to varying degrees, hyperactive. They may find they are grinding their teeth, clenching their fists, they raise their voices, feel like they are ‘fit to burst.’

This build up of tension, if not reduced and released can have serious physiological impact on the body. However, it also seems that ‘letting it all out’ – be it by ranting and raving, punching walls or verbally/physically attacking others – also has a detrimental impact on the individual’s own body systems.

So how often do you put your mind and body through this state of being?

The goal of anger management is to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. You can’t get rid of, or avoid, the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reactions.

The way you want to be is where you are taking control of your reactions, consciously and deliberately choosing your response. But to do this you can’t allow your emotions to dictate your reactions. You must get into the habit where you can keep those emotions contained and react with a clear mind, calm speech and deliberate, wise reaction.

You have the power to react in whatever way you choose.

Let me offer you a simple way of reacting with far more control.

Recognise the emotion. When you feel uncomfortable and unhappy, and anger welling up inside of you, stop what you are doing, breathe deeply about 5 deep times,  really listening to yourself and your self-talk

Rest for 10 seconds. Breathe out deeply and breathe in again, this naturally calms the nervous system. Count slowly from one to ten. This will delay your angry reaction and weaken it.

Rationalise.  Ask yourself how this emotion is really helping you. Ask yourself whether you would like to react to this emotion. Who is most affected by this reaction? Pausing and rationalising in this way will allow you to consider whether to react in a rational manner, or to shrug it off completely. Remind yourself that only you can choose how to act. Choose to take control.

Reposition. give your full attention to the points they are trying to make and try to sincerely recognize their point of view. Even if you disagree with their opinion or their actions, take a moment to calmly acknowledge that this is their opinion or the action that they are choosing to take.Maybe they’ve not considered all sides, so help them. clearly assess both sides

Reflect on the fact that you have accepted that which you cannot control (the emotion) and you have controlled your reaction. You have chosen how to act. Acknowledging this will calm and reassure that initial emotional response.

React. you have now given yourself the time to get control, to calm yourself. NBow react with grace and respect, and if need be explain clearly what negative you see, so the other person can assess it with all the information too.

Are you taking control of your reactions? What has enabled you to do this? Please leave your reply in the comments.

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About the author: Larry Lewis
My name is Larry Lewis, Health & Wellness Life Coach, Founder of Healthy Lifestyles Living, contributor to the Huffington Post, recently featured in the Sunday Mail Newspaper and somebody who went from being an owner of a chain of gyms and fitness fanatic, to a visually impaired overweight and incredibly sick person. Read about my illness to wellness story.
4 Comments
  1. wordpress theme developers August 17, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Hey Larry
    This is the biggest problem i am facing these days. i react negatively and rather rudely over things and I feel very guilty about it later. Thanks for sharing these tips. I am surely goonaa follow them.

  2. Fatima@Corporate training Brisbane August 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Great tips for short-tempered people like myself. Job stress, financial issues and relationship problems add up to reduce our tolerance and ability to control our reactions. This is surely going to help me calm down, thanks for sharing Larry.

  3. Joy@baby shower gifts September 11, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    These R’s you’ve shared show how simple it can be to tame such a bad habit. The saying “flying off the handle” refers to a hammerhead flying off its handle, thus rendering the hammer useless, and hurting other people in the process. Much like when we lose our tempers. The tips you’ve shared shouldn’t be taken for granted, for while it’s simple advice, it is important. Thank you very much for this gentle reminder to always keep our cool!

  4. Kristine@training company September 27, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I find that the number one cause of problems is negativity, in the first place. When someone is negative, that pretty much allows misfortune to waltz right through the door. More so when we “react” as opposed to responding. Thank you for writing such an insightful article. Respect should always be maintained in everything we do.

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