How To Respond Instead of Reacting: Keep Your Cool

A photo of changing leaves in the early Autumn in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We can learn to respond instead of reacting by keeping our cool and changing with the seasons as the world changes too.
Fall Colours at Stanley Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Copyright © 2021 Lee Spirit

These are quite the times we have found ourselves in! It’s so easy to react in anger instead of mindfully responding to our circumstances. The world is changing, and the season is changing. How do we navigate the storm? As Lee Harris says in one of his recent intuitive recordings, “You navigate the storm by choosing to live from within it, and you make that choice over and over again. By recognizing that the environment around you has changed, you allow that into your body, consciousness, and mind. You are patient with yourself as the change takes place, while you grow and change in accordance with everything around you”. In this article, let’s learn how to keep our cool, and respond instead of reacting in our divisive conversations. We can adapt to our changing environment like the leaves and Larch trees change in the Autumn!

What Is a Reaction vs. a Response?

A reaction is an automatic reply, typically infused with emotion. For example, you see a Facebook post in your newsfeed from a so-called “anti-vaxxer”, and you believe everyone should get vaccinated. So you immediately reply in an angry, judgmental, or harsh manner. You may defend your position in an attempt to preserve your dignity. This type of reply is usually reflective of a fearful inner state. Your nervous system is in “Fight!” mode, and rarely are the consequences of your reply considered ahead of time.

A response, on the other hand, starts with a felt perception. Before quickly replying to a triggering conversation, you pause, take a deep breath or three, and notice the sensations in your physical body. You allow those sensations to ripple out of you. Then, in a controlled way, you calmly reply from a place of presence. Rather than a “Fight or Flight” type of response, you respond from a place of kindness and compassion. You’ve likely considered the consequences of your reply.

Ideally, we want to learn how to respond instead of reacting.

Why Do We Tend to React More Often?

Reactions are quite typical for us because they stem from our subconscious mind, and our past programming from childhood. We tend to act and re-act without thinking or feeling through it first based on what that programming is. Whatever happened back then is a part of who you are today. If you suffered some trauma from being abused, that is ingrained in your cells, and it automatically resurfaces in your reactions in adulthood whenever faced with a similar situation.

This is a key point, that it is a “similar” situation. Michael Brown, in his book, “The Presence Process”, calls this similar event a “reflection”, or something that reminds us of a past trauma. Then he explains that a “projection” is how you might react to that reflection. You may avoid relationships, for instance, because everyone you date seems to act like your childhood abuser.

Good thing there is a solution on how to respond instead of reacting. You can learn how to turn reflections and projections into healthier responses.

Respond Instead of Reacting: Recognizing Our Reflections and Projections

Continuing on with Michael Brown’s idea of “reflections and projections”, he suggests that to help turn these into healthy responses, we must first recognize them. Take note any time you find yourself reacting in anger or frustration. Maybe you swear at a driver on the road in the morning when you’re in a rush. Perhaps you snap at your children, taking out a deeper frustration on them.

If we stop and take a few deep breaths, we move into our bodies, and into the storm within. It is here that we have access to all kinds of answers. When we know how we feel in our bodies, we can recall times in our past more easily when we felt that same sensation. Michael Brown suggests going back in time to a previous instance of feeling that same physical sensation, and continuing this process until you get back to the real cause of your adult-life reactions.

We tend to think that the cause of our adult-life reactions is whatever triggered that reaction in the present moment, as though it were a new reaction. Fact is, it’s not a new reaction, it’s a reaction we have repeated over and over again since our childhood. This is where the root cause of that reaction took place. If we can identify those triggers from the past, we understand ourselves and our reactions better and we can change them into responses.

Why Identify Physical Sensations in Our Bodies Rather Than Specific Events?

It may seem an odd concept to turn to “felt-perception” in the physical body as a tool for teaching us what is in our subconscious that resurfaces again and again in arguments and conflicts. The idea is that we try not to think our way through our past programming. When we use our minds, we make up stories that are constructs of the mind. Our memories about a past event may be altered in the present moment and this is not helpful.

What is helpful is recognizing how we really feel at the core about a certain event. We don’t want to bring up our past hurts in the form of a story in our minds, but as a felt sensation. For example, “When my partner disregards what I say immediately, I don’t feel I have a voice. I get physically tight in the throat area. There’s a lump there, and a tight sensation in my heart area”. Once you have this information, go back to a previous time you felt that same sensation of tight throat, tight chest, can’t speak. Keep going back until you discover where this sensation all began. Now you know the cause of it.

Click Here To Learn More About Getting To the Root Cause of Your Reactions!

With this new understanding, you can take a few deep breaths in and out, and respond instead of reacting. At times, this may not happen automatically. You may need some time to process things. A great thing you can do is just to tell the person you’re speaking with, “I need a bit of time to process this. Can we talk later?” This may help you avoid an argument.

Using Meditation & Yoga As a Means to Access Your Felt Sensations

Meditation is a great tool we can use to access our subconscious, and our past programming through calming our minds, and allowing feelings to settle into our bodies. When we come into this neutral space of “Shuniya”, amazing results happen! Clarity and solutions to our problems often pop into our consciousness out of nowhere. This can be achieved through a regular yoga and/or meditation practice. I also get these brilliant revelations during a long run, or a walk in the forest where my mind becomes clear, and I can reach this neutral space.

The benefits of yoga and meditation are astounding. Mental clarity, calmness, stress relief, focused attention, and improved concentration, just to name a few! Once we calm the mind, we can then relax our tight bodies from the ache of a rejected heart, the pain of grief, and so on. We have access to the physical sensations created in our youth by troubling, stressful, abusive times that have made us angry as adults.

Click Here Now to Meditate With Me on Building Your Resilience To Anger!

Using Nature As a Means To Respond Instead of Reacting

This is a beautiful quote by Eckhart Tolle on how nature can help us be peaceful in uncertain times:

“To bring your attention to a stone, a tree or an animal does not mean to think about it, but simply to perceive it, to hold it in your awareness. You can sense how still it is, and in doing so the same stillness arises within you…You sense how deeply it rests in Being…completely at one with what it is and where it is. In realizing this, you too come to a place of rest deep within yourself”.

Again, we are not using the thinking mind when we enjoy the Autumn colours. We feel the Fall chill in the air, without needing to think about it. This is present-moment awareness, which brings about this “felt-perception” that Michael Brown discusses. When we go into our internal storms, we can learn to calm the storm, and be still in body, mind, and spirit. In this stillness, we can respond instead of reacting.

A sustained connection with nature can really be the antidote to these stressful times we are living in. We learn how to be tranquil like the ponds, the Larch trees glowing yellow in the Fall, or the deer grazing in the grass. It’s here that we can connect with our radiant source of light, joy, and peace.

As Mark Coleman says in his book, “Awake in the Wild”, “Nature teaches us that peace is accessible in any moment if we cease to resist or struggle against reality and learn to surrender to what is happening in this moment”. In other words, we become calm and peaceful like nature, learning to respond instead of reacting to the circumstances of our current world.

Retraining Your Subconscious To Respond Instead of Reacting

There are many ways we can retrain our subconscious when we feel we’re reacting in negative or unhealthy ways. One way is through the use of Positive Affirmations, such as “I release the past and live fully in the present moment”, or, “I am happy in my own skin, and my own circumstances”. “I respond instead of reacting”. Repeating these to ourselves, or saying them out loud daily can really turn reactions into responses because we are more at peace with ourselves. When our inner landscape is at peace, our responses flow from a place of peace rather than anger.

Meditation Music, particularly when it includes sounds from nature as my meditation 6-pack does, and/or binaural beats are great ways to calm the felt sensations in the body, our minds, and spirits. Binaural beats are like tones played at a specific frequency – each frequency is different for each ear. Studies show that binaural beats can harmonize the brain, reduce anxiety, lower stress, increase memory and concentration, put you in a happy mood, manage pain, and promote creativity.

Once we have our subconscious trained to be more relaxed, calm, and positive, we are on our way to learning to respond instead of reacting.

Returning to the Autumn Larches & The Changing of the Seasons

I spent some beautiful peaceful time amongst the Larch trees in the mountains today, even with the unexpected dusting of snow covering the trail. Amazing how the Larches are only out for a week or two in late September before the needles fall to the ground, and winter blows in. When trying to keep our cool in the trying situations we find ourselves in, remember the health benefits of nature. Remember how we can change with the seasons, instead of meeting change with resistance. Nature knows when it’s time, and we can follow suit, and become masters at responding rather than reacting.

Lee Spirit is an avid outdoors adventurer with a love for nature, photography, health & fitness, wellness, and spirituality. She helps those who suffer from anxiety & negative thinking to become healthier in mind-body-spirit. Her own personal journey has led her to the  study and practice of mindfulness, health, wellness, yoga, spirituality, sound healing, meditation, and personal development for over 20 years. Get mindfulness, meditation, and personal development tips in her Free Natural Mind Healing Report.

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