Control Your Reaction in Stressful Situations

by: Terry Ternyila

One lesson I wish I had learned earlier in my life is that the only thing I can control is my reaction and truly how impactful it is on my mental and physical health. 

Usually if I am in a stressful situation, my emotions normally take over. I would either be snappy or upset which just seems to fuel the fire of anxiety and stress for sure.  I would let that energy take over me and I would feel defeated. It also would provoke a reaction from whom ever I was with in a negative way as well as they are feeding off my energy, so as a mom this usually left a negative environment for the whole family.

I feel like I have to practice mental yoga in order to process the situation in a calm manner, to really think about it before I react.  I need to weigh out what is the “worst case” scenario in my head. I need to try to communicate through it without the emotion and let go of the things I cannot control. It’s something I have to practice every day. It doesn’t come natural and sometimes I fail for sure. I feel like the little voice in my head has become my therapist to talk through situations before I react.

I had to learn to let some things go. When I am frustrated it’s like a magnet, then everything bothers me. Once I am in that negative head space, I feel more things would bother me and just keep sticking to me, making me even madder as time went on until I erupted.  The negative feelings would just keep the ball rolling…if I was having a bad day I just carried it with me all day and left a wake of destruction behind it as I was reacting to it all day. It just triggered me more.

But I can say my life has improved so much just by changing my reaction to things that happen. I can see how it has changed my relationships with my husband and kids. They play off my emotions so I am setting the tone. Being more calm with my reaction has set that tone with them as well.

I can also see how much it helped me in my journey for a healthy lifestyle. Not letting my reaction derail my progress for sure. You are going to stumble along the way, my reaction would usually lead me to feel like a failure. It would lead to more bad decisions until I gave up all together.

I can honestly say by just controlling my reaction, I feel better and lighter as I go through the day. Give it a try this week, instead of giving in to frustration and yelling. Try to control your reaction, be more patient, calmer and focus on the positive.

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