When you cannot control what is happening

When you can’t control what’s happening, learn to control how you respond.  That’s your power.

Most of our responses are primal.  We are operating with the same physiological tools that our caveman ancestors had, but we have very different ‘threats’, so our responses are often not appropriate or they are out of proportion to the initial trigger.

The first step in learning to manage how we respond to things is to increase our self-awareness.  Notice when your body and mind are switching to high alert.  Notice in great detail what is happening.  Do something to stop the spiral.  This can be to say ‘stop’ out loud, or think it loudly, or put our hand up in a stop signal, or snap an elastic band on our wrist, or put both hands firmly on a table as if you are taking control of an unruly meeting.

Then actively engage your thinking brain.  What’s the best way to respond to this in a calm manner?  What response will serve me and others best.  If I could design and write the most appropriate response, what would it be?  Think of someone you regard as a peacekeeping role model.  What would they do?

Challenging and changing our instant reactions requires some thought, focus and attention.  Most importantly, repetition is needed to embed a new habit.

But you can do it!  Start right now.  What situation do you face often that you feel you could handle better?  Decide now, in advance, how you will respond the next time.  Visualise it.  Practise it.  Then visualise and practise it some more until it becomes an automatic reflex.

Let me know if you need further help with this.