On the average day, there can be thousands of things that upset us. Bad news, interaction with other people, things a partner does that annoy us, and so much more, all of which elicit almost an instinctual negative reaction. But it takes energy reacting to the things that upset you, whether you are choosing to actively problem solve or simply letting yourself get upset.
Repeatedly using this energy by reacting to everything can quickly lead to burnout and prevent you from giving your full focus to the issues that are important to you. Managing your reactions is the best way to conserve that energy.
Choosing the Right Situations to React To
Being upset by different things is a natural response, but you do have control over how you react to those things. Becoming intentional about the way you react requires identifying when you are having an emotional response within your relationship or your daily life and then taking a step back so that you can determine what you want your next thoughts or actions to be in regards to this trigger.
Ideally, you only want to react to the things that matter most to you. You can determine this by considering the following:
- Is It An Ongoing Concern? – When something upsets you, ask yourself if it will still matter to you in a few hours, the next day, or in the next month. Many of the things that upset us last only for a moment, making spending time worrying about them wasted time.
- Determine If There is a Solution – If you are upset over something that you cannot take action to fix, reacting to something needlessly uses up energy that you can devote to more important concerns.
- Consider Energy versus Outcome – Before you go through with a reaction, consider how much energy you will have to put into getting the outcome you want and if that is worth it to you. If your reaction will require a lot of your mental and emotional capacity or time, reflect if that will justify the outcome when you are no longer feeling emotionally charged.
There are many positives to not reacting to something that upsets you in the moment and simply pushing on with your routine or other concerns you may have instead. If you determine that something that happened in your relationship or elsewhere in your life needs a reaction, the time you had to reflect and consider different options can help you have the reaction that will be most valuable for you.