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I was recently reviewing some of the decisions I have made that were reactionary. Looking back, I can now see that those actions were done out of fear, and seeking to prevent future problems. But because I was in a fear based state, which is sometimes hard to detect, I can now see that I had other options, and I could have made different, more beneficial choices.

Jon Mertz shares about reacting vs. responding:

A Mindful Difference: Respond vs React


Our brains play an important role in helping us to stay safe and prevent future problems. However, we need to not only make decision with our mind, but also with our heart, gut, and our spiritual intuition. We also need to closely examine our motivations. Through meditation and mindfulness, we can come to a more pure, open-minded state, where we can make clearer decisions out of inspiration, love, trust, and confidence.

Meditation and mindfulness help us respond to life, rather than react to life.

Here’s a mindfulness practice from Jon’s article:

Step 1: Breathing – Maintaining evenly-paced breathing is essential, an in and out reasonable rhythm. By focusing on our breathing, we will bring our thinking under control. We may eliminate thoughts that gear us up, releasing them with each breath. By focusing on our breathing, we regain our concentration.

Step 2: Awareness of body – With each breath, we become more aware of our body. We bring our heat of the moment under control. We raise our attention on our face heating up, our palms getting sweaty, and our ire being raised. With focus on our breathing, we also bring our body into a steady state as well, calming our systems down.

Step 3: Releasing tension – With each breathe and raised awareness, we bring ourselves into control and release tensions. We let go and become more centered in who we really are and want to be. Releasing tension returns us to our principles and calmer ways of interacting.

Step 4: Raising attentiveness – As we maintain our inner calmness and strength, we listen to what is being said more intently, and we watch the way in which it is being said. We become more aware as we formulate our response. Our raised attentiveness enables us to respond more thoughtfully and, if needed, begin to direct the exchange in a direction of collaboration or more productive areas of discussion.