Mindful Response Method©
Navigating stress and regulating your nervous system can be difficult at times. However, this practice provides a practical and approachable path toward being present with what is actually happening, determining what is actually important to you, and breaking down what could be overwhelming responses into manageable steps. This is not a new psychological theory, nor is it rocket science, it's simply a new way to organize what works in a way each of us can more easily and consistently practice, without shame, criticism, or perfection as pillars for change.
*The Mindful Response Method© was created and developed by Patrick Bryant, LCSW.
Interrupt automatic reactions and processes with as little as a 3 second pause. Here, we simply press pause on ruminating thoughts, building stories (from past experiences, predictions of the future, and elevated arousal in nervous system). This first step is crucial in allowing space for the next three, as it sets us up for resetting the nervous system.
Ask yourself, "What is ACTUALLY happening right now? Identify the facts. These facts may include factual occurrences in your environment, what is factually being said by another person, your physiological cues, emotions, etc.
Thoughts are NOT facts. How are you feeling toward what is happening? What are your feelings attached to? Are they attached to present moment facts, or perhaps a story? Feelings are informative, but they don't necessarily define you, other people, what is happening, nor what you need to do.
What do you need in this moment, based on what is actually happening? How can you get your needs met? Do you need something from yourself, or do you need help from others? Parts of you may have something to say about asking for help, but remember, those are just parts, not your complete SELF.
Remember to include yourself as a priority. This is not the same as being selfish or egocentric. Think of instructions on a commercial flight; placing the mask on yourself before helping others better insures your ability to help rather than becoming a additional burden. Consider how much you have in your tank. Do you have capacity or energy to take this on? At what cost?
What is truly important to you? Again, this question is not from a place of selfishness, but a place of better understanding your values, morals, agreements. Do you actually need to take on more, please this person, or avoid in order to get your needs met and/or be authentically you?
Consider that reorganizing your priorities can be situational; it doesn't have to be permanent. Shifting something or someone to or from a top priority may actually allow you to better attend or attune to your needs, and thereby better equip you to navigate or manage what you need (or what others need) later.
Now, just start. Planning can be helpful, but it can also leave us stuck on the outside of an experience. You've already planned when organizing your priorities. Trust your plan, and allow for a rhythm (moving with and through what is happening, rather than being stuck by rigidity). Even a GPS is useless if it doesn't meet you where you are. You may have a destination, but your present objective is the first next step.
Engage with self-compassion and realistic expectations. Perfection is NOT one of the 4 Ps. Patience, however, can be considered one of the silent but crucial Ps; patience with self and with others. Understanding what we can and cannot control allows us to shift focus, empower ourselves, and give grace when we don't always get it just "right."