“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response, lies our growth and our freedom.” Victor Frankl
Sometimes they delight and excite me and other times I feel paralyzed by them. Choosing a flavor of ice cream is fun as I sample several options and then settle on one or two. But selecting tile or paint colors when the options are numerous, knowing it has long lasting consequences, can create anxiety in me. Choices are available to us everyday, all day. We make big choices: buying a home, getting married, having kids, career, a car etc. We make little choices: what to eat and drink, exercise or not, our mood, how we communicate with others, our tone of voice, what books we read, watch TV or not…
When you roll out of bed in the morning, what determines your mood? If you wake grumpy do you go with grumpy or consciously decide to change your mood? Did you even know you could change your mood?
If someone cuts you off while driving, do you yell and curse them or do you slow down, smile and send kind thoughts in their direction?
Whether you realize it or not, you make choices, every day, all day, in regards to your thoughts and behaviors. You are either running on habit or you are consciously making a decision that feels right to you, in the moment. AND, not making a choice is still making a choice.
How is your life right now? What parts do you like? Is there anything you’d like to change? Do you have dreams or goals you want to accomplish? Do you go through life letting each day and event run you or do you slow down a little, coming into awareness of the moment, noticing how you feel and then make decisions from there?
When confronted with a stimulus either from your mind, body, or your external world, there is a split second where nothing happens. You get to make a decision about how you’d like to respond. In a stressful situation your body will automatically react, going into the freeze, fight or flight mode. When you are conscious of this response, you do have the power to choose whether you respond or react.
In everyday life, when we are not in the stress response mode, we have a bit more time in the gap. Slowing down, being present in the moment makes the gap last longer. We take notice of how we feel, where we feel it and then choose loving kindness to ourselves and to others.
So, start today, noticing the choices you have. Notice when you run on habit and when you stop and choose something that is not habit, but more aligned with how you feel at the moment. Start there. We’ll talk more about choices in another blog.
Here’s to your health & wellbeing!