Your A.B.Cs – a quick way to interrupt emotional reactivity & give yourself a choice

Updated: June 30, 2022

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This is one of my favorite and most used algorithms. It’s simple AND it can be the base for so many other Tiny Little Actions you may want to introduce in your life – the perfect stack base!

Why the A.B.C. TLA Matters

In principle this algorithm is about creating space between yourself and a trigger moment, event, person, feeling, thought…
Creating a space – interrupts the typical emotional trigger=response reactivity we could get trapped in. You know – when that person cuts you off in traffic. Or that other person takes forever at the queue. Or when your significant other forgets to take out the trash… whatever triggers you into a tizzy. Whatever may get you out of your skin.

Or said another way – whatever typically makes you feel like things are happening TO you, and without your control.

By creating the space with this simple, easy and fast pattern interrupt, you give yourself the chance to choose how the next set of events plays out.

You become the Director-Actor of your life’s movie – as opposed to just a pawn that HAS to read the script.

How to Use the A.B.C. TLA

But don’t let that simplicity fool you. The A.B.C. Tiny Little Action really has the might to slay ANY size emotional reactivity dragon.

It stands for:


And it’s literally what it says on the tin:

  1. As soon as you become Aware of a triggering event’s activation force, you
  2. Take a spacer Breath – which can either be aQ-Q-Sloooow breathor aHug Breathor just deep diaphragm filling satisfying breath… or two.
  3. And now that you’ve had a few seconds to distance yourself from the triggering event (behavior, person, environment, text, email, etc.), you can Choose what you want to do next.

You could still blow up and have a fitty. You could continue with a few more breaths. Or you could ask a strategic question to help you figure out why this gets you triggered (if you wanted and had the time to know why).

Or you could go no further on account of said trigger, and just resume your own agenda – the one that YOU set for yourself as the Director of your life movie.

The bottom line is that by using the A.B.C. TLA you create for yourself an opportunity to choose.

Which most people don’t. They allow random triggers to take control and spin them through life. Often leaving a ton of regret or accumulated chronic stress or disappointment with life in its aftermath.

Here’s Your Call to Tiny Little Action :o)

Firstly – make a list of the most common trigger events you can think of for yourself. Is it the kids. Your partner. Your colleague. Your parent/s. Yourself. Stranger. Friend…

This is not so you can hold a grudge – it’s so you can increase the likelihood of becoming aware as things happen.

Now – pick 1-2-3 of those events and decide to use your A.B.C.s the next time they happen.

See if you can do it. It might take you a few tries – nothing wrong with that.

Maybe write them down so you don’t forget.

Share your success rate below :o) Let me know what you felt physically as well as emotionally when you distanced yourself.

There’s no right or wrong way. All you want is to give yourself the right to choose how you react.

Enjoy! Oh and consider using a Totem to anchor your commitment to use your A.B.C.s to create opportunities to choose :o)

P.S. Stay curious. Never lose your colour & shine…

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