Constantly mastering the reaction is better than letting go

04.06.2020

Knowing how to react to what happens to us will always be better than letting ourselves be carried away by what happens to us. It is true that we are not always prepared for the ups and downs of destiny, for those unforeseen events that break our balance from one day to the next. However, in the midst of so much uncertainty, it is appropriate to have a certain sense of control, at least over yourself.

Albert Ellis, pioneer of rational emotional behavioral therapy, said that what is really important is not what happens to us, it is what we interpret about what happens to us. It is true, the cognitive plane is key in these circumstances and what we think determines us. But let's face it, sometimes things happen to us that there is hardly time to think about, just to feel its impact.

Suffering is part of life, therefore it is understandable and normal to be trapped by emotions for a certain time. Later, the time will come to react and deploy those strategies that Ellis talked about, in which thoughts, emotions and behaviors must go hand in hand to allow us to act, resolve and move forward.

However, we will do it in due time and in due course. Because every process of healing and coping has its guidelines. The most decisive thing in all cases is not to let ourselves be carried away by anguish and constant fear, by those emotions that hinder any progress.

Knowing how to react, survival and wellness strategy

Knowing how to react to life events requires practice and awareness. We say this for a very simple fact: there are those who react by instinct and there are those who act in a focused, responsible and courageous way. From one way of acting to the other there is a world; The first one does it as a mere defense mechanism, like someone who sees a ball coming towards his face and instead of dodging it he chooses to head butt in order to stop it.

On the contrary, there are those who react in a more adjusted and correct way to that danger and decide to put their hands in front to catch the ball and avoid both the blow to their face and also that could harm others. Between one action and another, a large number of processes arise, such as knowing how to use a calmer approach, applying good emotional management to avoid responding to impulses and also exercising mental flexibility, which allows us to choose one response over others.

Malcolm Gladwell, a well-known essayist and author of successful books on human thought and intelligence, explains in his book The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005) that throughout his life there is a lesson that has always served him. There is no need to react led by first impressions or impulses that we feel at any given moment in a situation. You have to take a deep breath, take some time and then act.

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If you get carried away by the circumstances "you are not thinking"

If you get carried away by the swings of adversity and do not act or react, in reality, you are not thinking. It is the emotions that carry you, they the ones that drag you like a leaf that hits the wind. If you allow others to decide for you in those circumstances, you are neither acting nor thinking, it will be the will of others that you choose in your place. And all this is neither good nor recommended.

Knowing how to react is putting up resistance at first, looking in perspective and calm and then deciding and acting. It is going against the wind and seeing face to face the difficulties to know what they look like, what they want and what are their weak points.

Reacting boldly and wisely requires more than just courage. It implies being responsible for oneself, managing fear and evaluating what type of response we should apply to the challenge we have before us.

Knowing how to react to what happens to us is avoiding acting on impulse

William James said that there are many people who "think they think", but in reality they only act on impulse. Letting ourselves be carried away by these unthoughtful reactions brings out the worst in us. After all, whoever does not think, who does not meditate on things, ends up making use of the prejudices, beliefs that others inculcate in him and that one simply assumes without protesting.

Knowing how to react involves making the effort to think and reason in a relaxed way to have greater mental clarity. In our hurried world, full of stimuli and pressures, we hardly have time for these delicate and necessary mental processes.

Often it is our own anxiety that makes us end up reacting on impulse, shaping poorly adjusted behaviors that we later regret. Knowing how to react is knowing how to respond from an interior that chooses not to get carried away by those emotions that "kidnap" us at a given moment.

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