Respond, Don't React | CGood TV

“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.”

— Plato

On Human Behavior

We’ve all been there. You’re in the car with a loved one – maybe your mom, brother, or significant other. They say something that irks you and, even though you promised yourself you wouldn’t after the last argument, you snap at them. Wish you could change the behavior that has become such an ingrained part of your relationship? Luckily, you can! Here are seven steps to change a negative behavior.

1. Keep a thought journal

It’s important to track your negative behaviors so that you can become more aware of what triggers them. It’s important to track negative thoughts as well, even if you don’t complete the behavior itself, so you can start to detect patterns for when they arise.]

2. Practice mindfulness

Another way of becoming increasingly aware of negative thoughts and behaviors is by becoming more mindful. There are many ways you can work on mindfulness, such as beginning a meditation or yoga practice.

3. Recognize your triggers

After becoming more aware of the different scenarios that incite certain negative thoughts and actions for you, attempt to recognize them as they arise. If you know you’re in a situation similar to one that has resulted in negativity for you in the past, you’re more likely to be able to control your actions.

4. Buy yourself time

Once you feel comfortable in the realm of mindfulness and are more aware of the triggering scenarios behind your negative thoughts and behaviors, take a breath in order to buy yourself time to think of a calm response, which brings us to …

5. Respond, don’t react

A reaction is something we have limited control over. By practicing the four steps we just discussed, you’ll be able to calmly control your response when your triggers arise rather than giving into a negative reaction. A response doesn’t need to be a solution, it can just be an explanation that you need some time away from that person so you don’t react in a way you don’t want to.

6. Collect yourself

Walk away from the potential argument and give yourself time to recover from the close call. Go for a walk or watch an uplifting video to alter your mood.

7. When you’re ready, reflect on the situation

Determine what the other person said or did that bothered you so that you can raise it with them calmly later on.