We finished out the theme of TEAMWORK last week, but I wanted to make sure you had the mat chat that went along with that final week. In addition to talking about working together, sharing our gifts for the benefit of all, we also made sure everyone understands what is meant when we ask in the pump up: “How long does it take to change your state?” and the reply is “Like THAT!”
Every moment you have the opportunity to decide how you are going to respond to circumstances around you. In an instant you can choose to stay positive and change your state. No joke. We have the ability to change how we feel.
Our feelings can be very deceptive. We can react to things without understanding what we’re reacting to you. Yesterday we shared with some fourth graders that circumstances can cause our “fight or flight” response. You’re walking down the street and suddenly a big dog comes out of nowhere barking loudly right at you. Before you realize there is a fence between him and you, your “fight or flight” response already kicked in! (Then you feel silly running away from a dog that’s behind a fence!)
The point is it takes a moment for our full brain to be able to assess ALL the facts. One way to give your full brain time to catch up is to stop and take a deep breath and slowly let it out. Your brain doesn’t need a lot of time to catch up! (Obviously the fight or flight is a safeguard and there are times it can save our lives! I’m talking here about when the response kicks in when there is no physical threat.)
Once our brain catches up with our “feelings” (our “fight or flight” response), we DO have a choice of how we react. We always have a choice of responding IN the fear or anger that has risen up in us, OR NOT! We can choose to sympathize with the person who caused the fear or anger to rise. We can choose to correct whatever wrong occurred. We can choose to give grace to someone else. We can choose to give grace to ourselves. We can choose to walk away. We can choose to change our state “Like THAT”, whether we need to actually DO something to fix a problem or right a wrong.
Sometimes we tell ourselves “I can’t do that” or “I’ve always had a quick temper” or “But it was really unfair” or “this is just the way I am” or “if you only knew my circumstances you’d understand”. STOP IT! You are listening to yourself and those thoughts become WHO you are! And they are NOT who you are!
Those are all just excuses! We HAVE the choice in how we react and respond to situations. We do not HAVE to be controlled by our circumstances or our reptilian brain (the part of our brain that the fight or flight response comes from). We can take a deep breath, and make a decision to respond how we wish others would respond to us when we make a mistake!
And the really great thing, once we make that decision — it actually changes how we feel!