Cited in Yahoo Health – What Justin Bieber Can Teach Us About Anger Management

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 2.38.54 PMJust like all of us can if we allow ourselves to be exhausted enough, Justin Bieber apparently can be impulsively reactive,  and according to his apology on Instagram, is working on getting better at responding rather than reacting. He’s not the only one. A lot of us struggle with controlling our behavior when emotions run high, especially when we are worn down.

Yahoo Health asked me to weigh in on the differences between “responding” rather than “reacting,” and whether this distinction is something we all could learn from. I was delighted to elaborate a bit on one of the key mantras of mindfulness psychology – practicing responding rather than reacting. To read the full article at Yahoo Health, click HERE.

The words “respond” and “react” are very similar but have very different meanings when it comes to describing behavior, licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, PsyD, tells Yahoo Health.

“A ‘reaction’ is largely emotional and protective in nature, whereas a ‘response’ includes thought and is more intentional,” she says. “Higher cortical brain areas are engaged when we think about a response rather than impulsively react, and this allows us to behave in the world in a way that is more consistent with our values and intentions.”

It’s possible to go from being a reactor to a responder, Clark says, but it takes practice in situations that are upsetting. Often, the difference between the two is taking a few seconds to process the situation and think of a proper response before speaking or acting.

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Alicia H. Clark, PsyD