Sunday, October 20, 2013

Shifting from Reacting to Responding

Of course life comes with stress.  Some of it we can watch float by because, with some discernment, we realize it's not ours to do.  Some stress comes as unanticipated events and some can be prevented.  I'm a huge advocate of combating stress by being pro-active.  For example, the holiday season is commonly a stressful time of year.  The stress can begin as early as October or November with all the marketing beginning earlier and earlier.  Each of us has a choice, we can recognize that the holiday season is always stressful and shrug our shoulders with a "that's just the way it is".  Then when January comes, we've gained weight, feel crummy, maybe even have the flu, the bills begin to roll in giving us a feeling of multiple aftershocks from a 7.5 earthquake.  So much for Seasons Greetings, Peace, Joy, Love and family.  The other choice we have is to take positive action as soon as we recognize the annoying...I mean, beautiful holiday music.  Some pro-active tips would be; create a spending budget and stick to it (remember, it's really not about the 'stuff'), create a time budget (yes, prioritize where your time is best spent), self-care is still at the top of the list and should never drop below 3rd.

When it comes to the unanticipated events, it's important to be aware of the emotions the event stirred up.  The unexpected event throws most people off kilter but at some point, the aftermath must be faced.  This is where we can decide to react or respond.  Reacting to a situation is a knee jerk, self-preservation, out dated instinct.  It usually includes some defensiveness and fear.  This is what creates the stress.  Responding to an unexpected event includes assessing the situation and deciding what the best response would be.  We should be looking for a response that is peaceful, mindful and good for the whole.  Lashing out is a step in the wrong directions.  It may feel good in the moment, but later, feelings are hurt, relationships are damaged and there was no focus on a solution.

Be honest...Are you problem focused or solution focused?  Do you react or respond to stressful situations?  Do you take action to alleviate the stress or do you avoid the reality?

Thank you for reading, forwarding, and following!!!
Terri