A Minimalist Step-by-step Guide to Reacting in Tough Situations

how to react in tough situations

You know these moments when someone makes you so angry that you want to scream or even punch him in the face. When someone says something so offensive that you can’t help yourself and burst into tears. When the one you’re talking to is so annoying that you lose control and say things you regret later.

No matter how strong and well-balanced we are, we’ve all been there at some point. And we’ve all said and done something inappropriate that was far from how we usually react and behave.

What we usually do (but shouldn’t)?

You speak with someone on the phone and he annoys you so much that you can’t stand him anymore and start shouting at him, hang up or throw your phone against the wall.
A direct and open person tells you what he thinks about you/your boss isn’t happy with your performance and explains to you why you failed/an acquaintance of yours shares what he doesn’t like about your appearance/etc. In these cases, and many more similar situations, you show your weakness by bursting into tears, start whining and making excuses.

You get an adrenaline rush and act without thinking. Your whole being is full of anger, rage or another strong and unwanted emotion, and you react in the easiest way – by letting it out – which is also the most reckless one.

Every situation like that finishes bad for both sides, you leave the room weaker than before, being offended or having hurt the other person, with a reason to regret, most probably blaming everyone else but you. All that brings stress, unhappiness and disappointment in your life. And that is exactly what you’re trying to avoid. And as it usually happens in life, the solution to that is much simpler that we expect it to be.

So in a nutshell, what you shouldn’t do is lose control, make a fool of yourself, put the blame on everyone else but you, react without thinking and do and say things you’ll regret.

In order to respond differently to someone that doesn’t behave the way you expect him to, you’ll need a different approach.

What to do then?

As with every other behavior we’re trying to change, here you will need to give it time and effort and use all your willpower. You’ll need a good understanding of your own behavior and a realization of what causes it and how it can be prevented.
First of all be positive and promise to give your best. If you follow the next steps precisely (and try again after having failed), you will make a huge improvement in your personality and will see changes in other aspects of your life too.

Just imagine how proud you will feel about yourself when you manage to hold your temper and control your emotions in a situation where everyone else would flare up.

Here is a step-by-step guide to learning exactly what to do when things can easily get out of control:

How to React in Tough Situations

1. Prepare.

Preparation is often the most important step of a plan.
Maybe here not to such an extent, but still being prepared will help you a lot.

2. When you feel like bursting into rage or tears, simply don’t do it.

3. Breathe deeply – it always helps.

Also do the good old trick and count to 10.
That will relax you, clear your head a bit and give yourself time to become aware of what’s going on.

4. Try to see the big picture of things.

Is what you’re doing now important and meaningful compared to the things in your life that really matter? How will you feel in a few hours/days if you let your emotions out now?

What if you’re wrong? Try to put yourself in the place of the person in front of you. You have no idea what he’s been through, and maybe he has a reason to be like that. Be kind, understanding, sympathetic.

If not else, these things will keep your mind occupied for some time and before you know it your anger/frustration will be gone. This way you will be able to handle things and respond appropriately.

5. Accept the situation as it is.

You are here, now, with that person. Make the most of it! Your reaction will either make things worse for you and the other one, or will be an experience and a lesson for you that will make you stronger.

6. Let go and move on for now.

You’ll be happy you did it later. Sometimes, when the situation is really out of control, it is better to just ignore what’s going on and leave without responding.

7. Use that energy for something better.

At the moment right after someone has spoken the fateful words and when you’re on the verge of reacting in the worst way possible, there is an enormous amount of energy in you. The best you can do with it is to make use of it later and invest it in some other activity.

Use all the power, emotions,feelings and adrenaline inside of you and dedicate it to something meaningful. Go to the gym, concentrate on your working projects, write, run, create something new. But don’t indulge in overeating, drinking, getting depressed or complaining.

The possibilities are countless so turn that situation into something beautiful.

8. On the next day, or later, go back to that occurrence and try to analyze it.

Try to figure out what caused it in the first place. There is always an explanation. Think of the stimulus and why you let yourself come to a situation where your adrenaline increased to a point where you can’t control your behavior.

By doing so you’ll be able to prevent it from happening again.

If you practice that and do it consciously, you can soon understand your reactions, beat all your weaknesses and control your mind and body.

Managing to let go, relax, accept, draw a lesson and transfer your energy to another thing, will be the turning point in your development, in which you will no longer depend on the current situation, people’s behavior and your emotions.

Go beyond the materialistic human nature and aggressive manners and thank for the current state you’re in. Be grateful for what you are experiencing now even if it seems bad at the moment. It has a lesson you’ll learn later. It made you stronger and wise even if you don’t realize it yet. You did the right thing.

 PS, I really want to thank the fellow student of mine that upset me so much with one sentence (because the situation was ridiculous and I didn’t expect her at all to reply like that) that I felt like crying for a moment but instead of saying something (although I didn’t know what) I decided to write this post and let go.

Have you had such incidents lately? How did you react?

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