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React or Respond? Try This

When something unexpected happens, do you dissolve in a puddle of tears?  If pushed-too-far, do you “explode” with frustration? These are both examples of reacting to life instead of responding.

Here’s the truth: Life is unpredictable. The world is constantly changing. That is physical reality today.

Reactions may stem from our human inclination to blame someone or something. Reacting like a victim and exploding with anger both deplete your inner battery and decrease your resilience capacity. They certainly don’t increase your productivity.

What would it be like for you to respond to the unexpected with a gentle rush of curiosity or interest, perhaps seeing an opportunity to learn something new, to develop a talent or skill, or appreciating a person in a new way?

Anxiety permeates our lives and results in many of us holding our breath, or breathing in a shallow way. Look and see, “Are you literally holding your breath, waiting for the next disaster to strike?” Not good, for many reasons.

Begin to breathe in a more normal and relaxed pattern. Try this:  Focus on your heart-space, your wisdom center, placing your hand there if it helps you focus. Breathe a little deeper and slower than usual, all the way to your diaphragm. Heart-focused breathing renews your inner battery, slowing down your racing thoughts. You will immediately notice a difference. Do this while driving, talking on the phone, getting dinner ready.

Make it a habit to breathe slower and deeper. Then, do your best to activate a positive feeling like gratitude or compassion or that sometimes rare commodity these days… how about a little kindness? Feel it, don’t just think about it.

Becoming more resilient does not happen overnight. Begin small:  daily annoyances, they are everywhere… a packed highway, a delayed flight, a slow computer, a telephone that won’t stop ringing, an annoying colleague or client. If you tend to blame others and overlook your own potential to contribute, start there. If you’re a worrier and trying to think of everything that could possibly go wrong, start there.

When you are ready to take the next easy step to build your Resilience Capacity,

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