In order to behave rationally instead of instinctively, i am learning to act instead of react.
If i stub a toe my first urge is to yell out (and recite a litany of obscenities). Instead, now i immediately grab something cold to alleviate the injury. If a dog barks or a cat howls, instead of "shushing" them, i give them all my attention straightaway (it works wonders...). If someone's loud music is an annoyance, earplugs are a far better instant remedy, rather than an angry confrontation.
I constantly strive to maintain a kind of calm in order to avoid becoming rattled by any sudden occurrence. It sounds trite but, often just looking up at the sky seems to help. It's uncluttered, quiet openness is very calming.