“One of our greatest freedoms is how we react to things” Charlie Mackesy

Whenever I hear this, it always makes me stop and take a moment to appreciate how true these words are.

Have you ever reacted to a situation or person and later reflected on this and asked yourself why you reacted that way? Wished you would have responded differently in hindsight? Wondered whether a different reaction would have resulted in a different outcome and feeling within ourselves?

I think it is fair to say we have all probably felt this way at some point in our lives, sometimes more than once!

So, what do we know about why we respond in certain ways? What is learned from others and from our own experiences can also shape how someone responds. Culture, personal experiences, and a person’s moods, thoughts and beliefs are a few aspects of a person’s identity that can shape reactions. This can also include experiences or struggles we have had with anxiety, depression, anger and frustration.

When looking at emotions, I always think of the characters from Disney’s Inside Out! If you haven’t watched this film, add it to your list! I also think it is a lovely film to help children understand emotions and how they are feeling too.

Emotions play a huge part in how we react to situations in our lives. And this can change depending on the situation, the person or how we are feeling. Therefore how we respond to something one day, could be completely different to how we may respond another day. Emotions not only determine how we behave and how we deal with situations that confront us, but they are an integral part of who we are.

Managing emotional reactions means choosing how and when to express the emotions we feel.

Have you ever thought, why did I react or feel a certain way in a situation? or wonder why someone else can react and feel a completely different way to me?

Now, we already know that we all respond differently based on a number of different things from our life experiences, our learned behaviours and personal experiences and beliefs. However, this said, we can still actually choose how we react to something. It is always what we make something mean that impacts the consequences.

It may not always change the outcome but it can help us with acceptance and how we feel about the situation and ourselves.

Acceptance has many benefits:
A more positive attitude
Less worry and stress
Less energy drained from trying to figure things out
Ability to embrace change
Greater appreciation and gratitude
A more compassionate perspective

People who do a good job of managing emotions know that it’s healthy to express their feelings — but that it matters how (and when) they express them. Because of this, they’re able to react to situations in productive ways:

  • Taking a moment to breathe and think before you act is a great first step towards changing the way you respond to things. It can also help you separate your feelings from your actions.
  • Knowing that you can choose the way you react instead of letting emotions influence us to do or say things we might later regret.
  • Having a sense of when it’s best to speak out — and when it’s better to wait before
    acting on, or reacting to, what we feel. Sometimes the best reaction is no reaction!
  • Understanding that our reaction can influence what happens next — including how other people respond to and the way we feel about ourselves.

And finally, we can’t always change what happens in life and we can’t control what others say or how they react. But what we can do is change how we react and that can change everything.

As always, I hope this was an enjoyable read and you found it helpful! Please like or leave a comment if you enjoyed this post! Until next time….

ThinkLess.Live More X

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