Respond rather than react

Last week I saw an article published by the BBC that frustrated me. I was tempted to write a post straight away but I would have ended up ranting and I’m making an effort to ‘respond’ rather than ‘react’.

Although they sound similar, there’s a world of difference between reacting and responding. A reaction is usually immediate, it’s driven by fear, biases and insecurities. Reacting can often make situations worse and you can end up saying things you later regret.

A response, on the other hand, is slower and based on values such as reason, compassion and co-operation. Before responding, you take the situation in and base your response on information. It also takes into consideration the long term effects of your words.

The opportunity to make a choice between reaction and response arises all the time. In life, there are external events that we cannot control and could have the potential to bother us. Your train might be delayed, a colleague may be rude to you or your kid might accidentally break something. Although all 3 of these situations have the potential for us to reaction straight away, we can learn to choose a response that will make the situation better and not worse. Responding saves you from feeling anymore upset in the moment or regret later on.

The best way to prevent a reaction is to pause. A few seconds may be enough but it could take longer, depending on the situation. A few deep breaths may diffuse a reaction from a small inconvenience but if something really upsets you, you may need a few hours or even days to process the situation and respond appropriately.

In case anyone is wondering what BBC article I found annoying it was the one pictured above. There were 3 main reasons for my dislike for this article. Firstly, it suggested that to get enough fibre in our diet, we have to eat grains and foods such as bread, pasta and cereal. While I agree fibre is important, there are much better sources than those listed in the article. The article fails to recognise that there are excellent sources of fibre that aren’t highly processed, are lower in calories, are easier to digest and contain essential minerals and vitamins. My particular favourites include vegetables, fruit, rice, oats and chia seeds.

My other 2 reasons for disliking this article are slightly less significant but I feel they are worthy mentioning. There is an incorrect use of grammar in the title: ‘less carbs’, surely the BBC should strive for grammatical perfection, and finally, the BBC using the winky emoji face gives me the creeps.

That was me trying to respond rather than react, hopefully I’ve managed to respond clearly and effectively and not just have a big old rant! So the next time something upsets you, takes a deep breath and try to respond. If you want to learn more about fibre, I wrote a blog previous blog post titled ‘Fibre – what it is, why it’s important and where to find it’, that you may find useful.

Paula xo

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