#061 – Slow Down and Stop Being so Reactive
One thing I teach my clients is to slow down their reactions to other people and choose intentionally how they want to respond. Most people struggle with this! So, if you’re one of those people, you’re in good company!
Being reactive – saying and doing things you regret later – has a lot to do with your nervous system and letting it be in charge. You can begin to change this response in yourself when you work on breathing intentionally to manage your nervous system.
If this is something you want to learn how to do, join me in a free upcoming webinar:
Breathing for Life
CLICK HERE to register
Some additional benefits from learning to breathe and manage your nervous system:
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Increase digestion
- Better sleep
- More energy
- Improve mental focus
You’re listening to The Coaching Your Family Relationships Podcast, episode 61, Slow Down, and Stop Being So Reactive.
Everyone has at least one difficult family relationship, the one that feels impossible. I’m Tina Gosney, a family relationship coach, I’ll help you with that impossible relationship so that you can feel better. Each week, I’ll give you some relationship tools, and two takeaways and one challenge, knowledge, action and coaching, working together to make a huge impact. Join me on this podcast. And we’ll tackle the hard part of that founder relationship together.
Welcome to September 1, and welcome to all of those new listeners that are tuning in to this podcast. So glad you’re here. So glad to be helping you with your family relationships. You know, I have people asked me, I’ve noticed a trend lately, of people asking me how to stop being so reactive to their families, mostly to their children, especially young children. But it’s not something that’s just specific to young children, right, because we get reactive with our husband or wife or spouse. We get reactive with our siblings, we get reactive with our adult children.
But it’s not limited to just family members, we get reactive to people in the world in general. And what would you say if I told you that there is something that you can do that will help you to be less reactionary. And not only will it helps you to be less reactionary, but it will help you to reduce stress, reduce anxiety, it will help you to get better sleep, it will help you have more energy during the day. It will help you improve your mental focus, and even improve your digestion.
What if you could get all of those things in one daily practice? Sounds too good to be true, right? I want you to keep listening because there is something that you can do that will help you achieve all of these things.
Last summer, so summer of 2021, I attended a training with a with a lot of other life coaches. And I remember very vividly one of the life coaches talking about her practice of meditation. And she was saying, she has a sister who just really hates her existence. And she said, her sister was in her face, inches from her face, screaming at her, got right into her face screaming at her. And this life coach said she was completely calm, and just let the sister own what she was doing. She didn’t react to her. And she said I couldn’t have done this with 10 days of meditation or 155 days of meditation. But I think she said something like she was on day 289 of daily meditation. And that was the piece that she had achieved in her life at this time.
Well, meditation is awesome. And if you’re a meditator, and if you have been able to sustain a daily practice long term like this life coach did, I want to take my hat off to you. Most people cannot do that. Most people want the effects that meditation can give them. But there they are just not able to really do the practice the daily practice and be disciplined enough to get to those effects. So I’ve been working on meditating for a while, and I’m going to attest to the power of it. I think it is wonderful. It’s not actually the thing that I’m going to be talking about today, though.
I did watch this past summer. So summer 2022. I was watching a show and I forget which streaming platform it was on. But it was called HEAL.
And it was talking about healing the body through meditation was talking about how it heals our illnesses, our mental problems that can self solve emotional problems, and relationship problems. But again, like we want all those results, but it’s so hard to sit with meditation. In fact, how many of you have heard that you should be meditating, and maybe have even downloaded an app like headspace? But you don’t use it regularly.
It sits on your phone or on your device and you look at it every once in a while or maybe you get notifications and you think oh I should be I should use that. Ultimately later, or I’m going to do it tomorrow morning at such and such time, and then you don’t just time gets away from you. We have every great intention of using apps and meditating and, and dedicating ourselves to a daily practice like that. But if you’re like most people, you’re not able to, to sustain that long term, it’s really hard to sit still, it’s really hard to meet the demands of meditation.
And most people will give up pretty quickly, in fact, after just a few minutes. So when I have my coaching clients asked me like, How do I stop being so reactive to this person in my life, or to this thing that’s happening in my life, I tell them, they need to get some space in their life, some space between the thing that happens, or the person who’s acting in a way that is causing them to be reactive. So the thing that happens, and their response to it.
And talking about it is one thing, doing it is quite another because they say, I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to slow everything down and give myself more space between the time the thing happens, and the time that I find myself reacting to it. So will I really wanted to find an easier way for my clients to access the effects. And the benefits of meditation without having to dedicate themselves to setting for five to up to 90 minutes a day, I started searching foot for an alternative.
And I have found an awesome one that I’m going to share with you today. You know, our bodies are in almost a constant state of fight or flight. Now, if you think about the fight or flight, how we get so and that’s what happens when we get reactionary, right, we get so reactionary, we don’t really use our brains anymore, or just reacting to the things that’s happened.
And then later on, we realized that we shouldn’t have done what we did or said what we did. But, you know, our bodies have a fight or flight response for a reason.
Our ancestors think about the world that they lived in, they had to be constantly aware of dangers around them, they didn’t have homes, that they could go in and lock the door, they didn’t have cars, that they could go in and travel somewhere really quickly. They didn’t have a lot of protection from the outside elements of life. And their bodies would immediately react to danger. Without even thinking immediately react. And that served them very well. It perpetuated their life, right?
We still have the same brains, we still have the same nervous system, we still have the same type of body DNA that our ancestors had, when they were reacting to those elements of nature. But we don’t have the same environment that they lived in. So our bodies are interpreting dangers that are different than theirs, it doesn’t serve us very well.
Our bodies will stay in an almost constant state of fight or flight for so many of us. And we and then our bodies don’t get a chance to recover before a new threat starts. So it’s good to think about how often during the day you encounter something like this. A lot of traffic maybe being late, maybe having someone cut you off.
Maybe having a detour that you weren’t expecting, just think about all the aggravations that you’ll get as you’re driving somewhere. I mean, that’s a pretty common one that people hear was complaining about things that happen while they’re driving. Think about how often things happen at work. You have a boss that’s not happy with you, you have a co worker who’s doing something that is threatening your job or is taking credit for something that you’re doing or his dumping their work on you or any other things that happen at work, how often are you getting aggravated, and finding yourself angry and reactive at work? What about just in your personal life?
What about just going shopping at the grocery store? And the long lines or maybe you know lately, there’s a lot of you go to the store and there’s a lot of things that are not even on the shelf. You can’t even find them anymore. And it’s so frustrating because you was just there last week and you should have picked up double because you didn’t know what’s gonna be gone this week.
What about toilet paper? You know, two years ago, two and a half years ago when COVID started thinking about all the aggravations of trying to just day to day life errands and shopping. Think about how often things go wrong with your spouse. You’re not connecting with with them, they’re asking you to do something that you don’t want to do, they’re telling you something that you don’t want to hear. There’s just things that go on in relationships with a spouse, that can be super triggering.
These are constant stressors that are triggering our nervous system, they are triggering our fight or flight, they are flooding our bodies with chemicals that were meant to be there temporarily. But since we are encountering these things all the time, we don’t have that chemical in our body almost constantly. And we don’t give our bodies a chance to rest to rest and digest. Before it’s triggered into another fight or flight. This is so bad for our bodies.
And it begins to show up in ways that you’re going to recognize because it leads to increased illness, it leads to increased stress. In fact, it keeps your body in a constant state of stress, it leads to weight gain, it leads to more anxiety, it leads to loss of sleep. These chemicals that are bombarding your body by staying your body staying in this state are not meant to be they’re constantly, they’re meant to be there for short term to help us fight the danger that’s there. And then for us to retreat, and to be able to go back to a relaxed state.
But with our constant stressors in our environment that we live today, it’s creating dysfunction in our lives and in our bodies. We need to learn to bring our bodies down from this response. And we need to learn how to do it regularly. And we need to learn to do it on purpose. This is the key to finding space, between something that happens and how you react to it. It’s learning how to bring your body down from our fight or flight response.
And to do it regularly. And to do it on purpose. What happens when your body goes into that fight or flight, those chemicals are released in your body, you feel that aggravated response? Well, oxygen is rerouted from your brain, to your heart into your limbs. Think about if you really didn’t need to fight someone, this would be awesome.
This would be exactly what you need. If you had to run away from a threat or if you had to fight. That would be exactly what your body needs. It needs more strength in the limbs, more strength in the heart to give you more energy. But when we’re getting triggered into that fight or flight response, and we’re not actually our lives are not actually in danger. It cuts off really oxygen to the brain. So we’re not responding in a really what in a way that is helpful to us helpful to our life, helpful to our employment helpful to our family relationships, just helpful in general.
That’s why when you are not thinking clearly, you’re so reactive, and why you don’t even realize it until later when you’ve calmed down. And then you realize that you’ve said things that you regret, you’ve done things that you regret. And you say things to yourself, like, Oh, why did I do that? I can’t believe I did that again. Why do I keep reacting this way? And maybe you go back and apologize to the people that you’ve hurt. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Let’s just say you do. And you say I’m going to try to be better next time.
But what happens the next time you do the same thing again. And eventually those apologies start to ring hollow because the people in your life don’t believe you anymore. You just start making excuses for yourself like, well, that’s just the way I am. I can’t help it. I’m just a reactive person. There’s nothing I can do. But this is not true. Your brain is aligned to you. You just haven’t learned the skills that you need to be able to put some space in your life and slow things down.
And when you look at the CTFAR model, which if you’re familiar with coaching, you already know what that is. But those of you who are not familiar with coaching, and not familiar with that model, I’m going to give you a very quick explanation of what that means. Each of those letters stands for something.
This C is a circumstance circumstances are things that just happen to us. They’re things that are given to us that we don’t have control over. And we get to interpret the circumstances of our lives with our thoughts.
T stands for thought How do you interpret the circumstances? save your life. Because that’s what happens. Everyone has a different that around the same circumstance, no two people think alike. So our thoughts are optional, though we don’t realize that they are.
When we have certain thoughts about circumstances in our life, it leads to a feeling a thought, will create a feeling within us a feeling in our body, like stress, like overwhelm like anger, like love, like understanding, depending on what we’re thinking, that causes a feeling F stands for feeling. And our feelings drive all of our actions.
A stands for action. You do what you do, because of the way that you feel. And you do the what things that you do, because you want to feel a certain way. The A stands for action actions come from the way that we feel. And our actions have an effect on our life, right?
Our actions give us our results. That’s the R in the model. The action gives us the result of what the effect is in our life of what we’ve done.
So you want to get some space, after the circumstance. And before the result. What does that look like? Awareness of your own thoughts, awareness that you are interpreting the facts that have been given to you in a certain way. Or maybe it looks like time to recognize a feeling in your body that is driving you to act a certain way. Maybe it looks like delaying the reaction time and getting time to think and to measure your response.
But so many of us, it’s our autonomic nervous system that is running the show. And we don’t have the space to do that. But you can begin to control your response to that nervous system to that automated response. By the way that you breathe, your breathing has a tremendous effect on how you feel and how you react, how you respond to the world around you, that you have no control over. Because we all have things around us that we have no control over.
So when you ask me, “How do I stop being so reactive to my family?”
I’m going to answer you, I’m going to say, we’re going to answer you. And I’m going to say, “Start learning how to use your breath effectively.”
By practicing a little bit every day for just a few minutes. It is so much easier than meditation, so much easier than meditation. Learning to use your breath to manipulate your nervous system is the easiest way to begin getting the space that you need.
And I am teaching a breathing workshop in September, that is totally free, I want you to come. So this is a completely free workshop, it’s going to be one hour, you’re going to find a link in the show notes. But I’m going to show you some breathing techniques that you can use. Right then day one. And I’m going to show you how this breathing can have an effect on your life.
How the effect is coming right now by you not doing anything to control that reaction, and how you can begin to change that as you work on your breathing practice. Now, I know many people have many thoughts like, you know, it’s not me, it’s my husband. My husband is the one in fact I hear that a lot. My husband is the one who gets so angry and he just flies off the handle, can’t even talk to him. He’s the one that needs this.
And if that’s the case, then send him the link. Let him sign up for the for the workshop. And other people are probably saying it’s just the way I am nothing I can do about it. And I will challenge you on that. I do not believe that we just need to resign herself to say that’s just the way I am. I think that’s a cop out. I think that just means that you don’t want to try. But I know that if you give it time, practice consistent practice and time that it will start to work for you.
Now breathing differently is not going to make the circumstances of your life change. Those are things that are given to you. What it will do, it was it will allow you to be different around your circumstances. It allows you to be more expansive, more patient more calm, you became a person who is better able to handle the circumstances of your life.
And you know what? You develop more resilience in your life, no matter what’s happening to you. Who doesn’t want that? just by learning these breathing practices that I’m going to teach you in this workshop.
You don’t have to be reactive to the things going on around you. You don’t need to label yourself as a reactive person, you can learn to slow everything down, you can learn to delay the time between the point that something happens and your response to it. That’s takeaway number one.
Using your breath to achieve that is an easy way to begin to manipulate your nervous system. Breath, intentional breath. Intentional breathing, has a tremendous effect on your nervous system. And it’s your nervous system that is reactive. If you can learn to purposefully intentionally manage that you can do this.
Sign up for my workshop, sign up for my free breathing workshop and see how this can work for you.
Learn the three breathing techniques that I will teach you in this workshop, that you can start applying day one, right that day that you take this workshop, you can start doing it. It only takes a few minutes a day.
And remember, if you think that you’re are a really reactive person, if you’re a person who says and does things that you regret later, it is possible to change. You don’t have to resign yourself to that. No matter how long you’ve been that way, or how old you are. When you work on this, you are becoming a person who has more control in your own life. You feel better about yourself. And when you feel better about yourself that begins showing up in the way that you interact with you. I’ll see you what the breathing workshop, find the link in the show notes.
Have a great day and I’ll see you next time.