Act don't react

Dealing with life

Learning how to respond to life’s surprises and challenges more effectively is one of the best skills you can have. When you stop thinking the world owes you a favour (it doesn’t) and stop feeling sorry for yourself, you own your life (good and bad) and start to respond to life’s difficult situations more effectively. That is what changes everything.

Act or React

This doesn’t just apply to the catastrophes that life throws at us, it can be used in every situation, however big or small. My niece went through a stage of throwing her food on the floor, every time she did it my brother would scream and shout (with no effect) yet she continued to do it. When she did it at my house I did not scream or react to her behaviour. I calmly took her out of the chair, explained to her that now she had to help me clean it up. I showed her that with every action there is a consequence. I sat with her, and would not let her go until it was all cleaned up, she didn’t do it again! I ACTED rather than REACTED and got an effective result.


Regardless of the situation, when we respond with emotion and let someone else’s actions determine our behaviour, we only compound our problems. Taking a deep breath (or ten!) and responding calmly means we’re going to be able to better handle any difficult situation, whether it’s an emergency or just a young child throwing food!

Of course, all of this is easier said than done. It takes time and practice, however there are a few things you can do right now, today:

  • If you have a situation you are struggling with try to find a positive in it, it could be something simple like – ‘this is not a life or death situation.

  • Assess how stressful the situation is on a scale of 1-10 and evaluate the tension in your body. I tend to clench my fists when I am stressed, other people have tense necks and shoulders, we are all different

  • Relax the tense area of your body – 3 deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth, (a quick stretch often helps too)

  • Face the same situation or person, but with a relaxed body and mind.

Repeat this practice as often as needed. Face the day with less tension and more presence. Change your mode of response from one of struggle and resistance to one of peace and acceptance.

Good Luck!

If you want more advice on managing stress why not try our stress awareness course.

About the author

My passion is for learning, any age, anywhere, anytime. That is why I offer Interactive E-learning, Face to Face training, Microsoft Teams/Zoom training and consultancy services. Learning should be easy to organise, and more importantly fun!

The world is moving so fast these days, especially where technology is concerned, everything is mobile, what would we do without our mobile phones and tablets? Learning takes place every day, whether it’s from an article we read, an app we download or a conversation we have going about our everyday lives. We are always learning and developing.

Author: Maxine Clark

Visit Maxine on LinkedIn