How to Become More Responsive and Less Reactive

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When we react mindlessly to anger or other negative emotions, not only do we lose our personal power to a fleeting emotion, we risk embarrassing ourselves, damaging relationships, losing credibility at work, and possibly even incurring legal actions when the reaction falls outside of legal bounds.

Fortunately, no matter how powerless you feel over your emotions, you can become less reactive and find ways to respond to any situation that will create significantly better results for all concerned.

Here’s how to change:

As soon as you notice negative emotions such as stress or anger creeping up, stop what you are doing and conduct a quick body scan. To do this, simply observe what is going on in your body without judging or becoming attached to what you witness.

Take at least one minute to pay attention in the present moment with an open-minded curiosity. You might notice that your face feels flushed, your heart is beating faster, your jaw or neck muscles are clenching up, or other sensations of your body responding to whatever emotions you are feeling.

Whatever you notice during the body scan, just observe and allow it. This will reconnect you to your body and away from whatever is going on that is upsetting you. When you feel that connection with your body, you can then move on to the SOBER mindfulness method.

The SOBER Mindfulness Method:

→ STOP. Whatever it is that you are doing, just stop for even just one minute, or more if you need to.

→ OBSERVE. Again, observe what is going on inside you without judging, and look beneath the surface. Is your anger covering fear or hurt? What is going on inside physically, mentally and emotionally?

→ BREATHE. As you are allowing whatever is going on inside of you, take some deep, slow calming breaths, as many as you need to.

→ EXPAND. When you have relaxed into your breathing, allow your powers of observation to expand to the multitude of choices that you have the ability to make in regard to whatever upsetting situation is at hand.

→ RESPOND. Choose the healthiest response you can think of from a place of respect and honor for yourself and others.

If you can’t think of a healthy/productive response, repeat these steps a few more times, or reach out for help.

As you practice scanning your body and doing the SOBER mindfulness method, you will notice that you are able to respond in a more calm and self-empowering manner than before. Your self-confidence will naturally begin to increase and you will get along better with others.

You will also notice that you will get more of what you want in life as you will have time to focus on what you want instead of reacting mindlessly to what you don’t want.

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