Have you heard the famous saying, “life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how you react to it!” ???

REALLY in life, attitude is everything; it is what shapes your beliefs and your desires.

Let’s face it, sh** happens, bad stuff occurs, haters hate… but it’s you who decides how to interpret these events. You are always in control of your emotions, your reactions, despite any given situation. You really do have the power!!!

Here are a few ways you can take the reigns:

Pause Before You React 

Before you say or do anything take deep slow relaxing breaths. Breath in and out through your nose because that leads to a sense of calm. Be mindful. Remember no matter what happens you can choose your reaction, your interpretation of the situation.

Model people you admire.

Think about the person you would like to be. For example, if you have a friend or coworker who seems eternally calm, notice their actions during difficult situations. If you struggle with impatience and become quickly frustrated, take the time to develop a clear vision of a more ideal version of yourself, reacting calm just like your model. If you don’t know anyone who has the behavior you want, just image it.

Figure out where your difficult reaction patterns originated. 

What is the reason that you react as you do? Is it a pattern you picked up from a parent, relative, friend, media? For instance, you might find that you yell when you’re impatient because that’s what your dad always did. Sometimes just figuring out where something came from makes it easier to let go. Say to yourself, “That’s not me, that’s my ________ reaction pattern.”

Remember the outcome of your reactions.

Think about the negative consequences that often happen when you have certain reactions. For example, when you get really angry when stuck in traffic, it increases your stress, puts you in a bad mood, you act nasty to your family, you get a headache, etc.

Visualize yourself having a better reaction.

Think about better ways to respond. Imagine doing them and the good consequences of reacting better. For instance instead of getting angry in traffic, visualize yourself enjoying great music in the car, feeling excited bopping to the beat, acting happy when you get home to greet your family, etc.

Practice compassion.

Don’t assume you know what others are thinking or why they are doing what they are doing. Walk a mile in their shoes and try not to judge.

Also be compassionate towards yourself especially if you are trying to improve a reaction pattern. Change takes effort and time. It’s important to support yourself. Being critical will only undermine your efforts.

So here is a little formula for success. When something happens be mindful, pause, breath deeply, then consider a thoughtful, compassionate response.

What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens!