In physics, we say for every action there is equal and opposite reaction. In chemistry, we say when two chemicals come in contact with each other reaction takes place. Whereas in human context, reaction is responding to an action and situation. All these reactions are driven by our emotion. Our emotions are governed by our upbringings, believes, principles, values and experiences. In other words, we can also say that reaction is showing impulse response to a situation.
But most of the time it is looked upon as a negative word because we believe that reaction has only the forms of anger and disagreement. But broadly reaction can be categorized into three types depending upon time and intensity of answer. First one is impulsive response which is given immediately and with equal or more intensity. It takes the form of outbursts and raised voice responses. Now a days most of the reactions falls in this category only. The second category of reaction is done with a delayed timing and less intensity and is mostly called as response. Here the person responding is in control of his emotions upto a certain extent. Third category is called strategic response, which comes with a strategic delay in timing and strategically controlled intensity. It carries minimum effect of emotions on the behavior. The type of response we will give depends on the space available in our mind for other persons. The more is the space, delayed will be our response to the situation. And the space in the mind increases with calmness and self-belief.
Sometimes non reaction is the idealistic form of reaction, but it is practiced only by the people with greatest wisdom. But majority of the people are slaves of their temptations which force them to react instantly to every situation without even thinking for a moment that the harsh reaction can spoil the day of both persons besides creating hostilities. The worst part is that the damage do not stop at this point only, rather it travels very far as a chain reaction starts with the reaction. People carry their moods along with them and spread it across. We humans do not even realize that we are so powerful that from our thoughts and actions we can make this world a beautiful or ugly place to live.
Outcome or result of a situation is dependent more on the way we respond to the situation. Situation by itself contributes ~20% to the result, balance 80% are how we react to that situation. Human tendency is to react and then review, however in ideal situation; reaction should be driven by the desired outcome. Reaction should be taken only after considered all alternative available, their respective & tentative outcomes and their after effects. To do all this, you need to have the required time, which can be achieved by delaying your responses. This delaying is an art: require mindfulness calmness, patience and wisdom.