My boss with whom I’ve worked for over 20 years and who has an unfortunate tendency to get agitated (gentle understatement here) at the workplace has just discovered Thich Nhat Hanh. My boss was intrigued by Thich Nhat Hanh’s suggestion that when you find yourself getting angry, “don’t.” Knowing that he is still going to have to take action in response to the things that tick him off (and, as I would add, that not getting angry is distinct from disengaging, failing to act, or being apathetic), my boss still invited us to say to him when we see him getting worked up, “remember Thich Nhat Hanh.” I liked that. I like that he recognizes a need to change and grow and is starting to take steps after years of appearing not to be aware of the impact of his tendencies on himself and his co-workers.
One of the best ways I know to shift our reactiveness is to develop a steady meditation practice. If you don’t already have one, I invite you to begin to develop a daily meditation practice, which could include conscious breathing or visualizations. If your practice is only sporadic, notice how much better it is when your meditation is part of your daily routine.