DNR (Do Not React)

June 1st, 2009

How often have we exploded in anger, and destroyed or altered a relationship, or perhaps even lost a job. We might have been “in the right” and our anger justified, but still our reaction may have been destructive to our well being.

The “human condition” has one basic biologically based behavior, and that is to react with full force when we are threatened whether it by a “saber tooth tiger”, or angry boss or perhaps just an irritated mate. It is commonly called the “fight or flight ” response. In our primitive biological evolution, to take time to think when threatened, may have been fatal.

Knowing this, how can we act (not react) responsibly when threatened by either the mythical “saber tooth tiger” or more frequently by the numerous of potential conflicts which eventually will occur in our lives. There is an old adageĀ  that says, “count to 10 before reacting” and this usually works if we able to override our instinctual “flight or fight” reaction. Very often however, this primitive instinct may take over and our reaction may result in a personal disaster.

I do have a device that I have used in my own life and have at times suggested to clients. And that is simply writing on my left wrist the bold letters DNR. A visual reminder of Do Not React. When approaching what I think might be a stressful encounter, I glance at the reminder on my wrist, and often an emotional meltdown may be avoided. And even this, as effective as it is, does requires foresight just to look at the reminder. Try it. It really works.

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