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Are You Overreacting? Here’s How To Tell And How To Stop Overreacting

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psychology

Last updated on September 20, 2022: Published on September 21, 2022

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“It’s not our stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.” -Dr. Hans Selye

Have you ever said to yourself after reacting badly to a situation, “I may have overreacted”? It’s not an uncommon practice to overreact and trust me when I say this; What is an overreaction to you may just be an appropriate emotional reaction to someone else.

Emotional overreaction is valid, and the one experiencing such high-intensity emotions often tries to minimize their reaction by telling themselves that they shouldn’t have felt that way or that they shouldn’t have reacted so strongly.

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While these thoughts are common, they don’t help much. Saying these phrases to yourself cannot help you find a solution. Before you learn to control your overreaction, it’s important to understand that emotional expression (overreacting or not) is okay and valid.

However, if you find that you often overreact to situations that may not deserve such a strong reaction, then I’ve listed some helpful tips below to help you stop overreacting. Before that, let’s take a look at the signs of an overreaction and what might be causing them.

Are you overreacting? Knowing the signs!

Remember that not every emotional reaction is an overreaction. Sometimes, when things happen that are beyond your control, experiencing strong emotions is common and even expected. If something happens that you can’t control, then it’s okay to be anxious, scared, and even angry. And it’s just as important to rejoice when something good happens.

Here are some signs that you may be overreacting:

  • You feel like you are having trouble controlling your emotions
  • They make a big deal out of even ordinary events
  • You experience physical changes (like fast heartbeat, abdominal pain, etc.) when you are emotional
  • You feel irritable and nervous for no reason
  • You find it difficult to understand the feelings of others
  • You often react with too much anger, shouting and verbal abuse
  • You find yourself disconnecting or dissociating from the present moment

There’s a difference between strong emotions and an overreaction. When a normal emotional response begins to negatively affect your life, it becomes a problem.

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Example of overreaction:

Your colleague fails to complete the task assigned to him, causing you to fall behind on your project. In this case, anger is justified, but if anger causes you to yell at her or physically attack her, then we can call it an overreaction.

These types of feelings are valid, but when these feelings start interfering with your health and relationships, they can be labeled as disruptive.

Did you know that various factors can contribute to overreacting, including trauma and physical illness? Here are some of the most common causes of overreactions:

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  • Mental disorders (including ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.)
  • trauma disorders etc PTSD
  • Physical illness or injury
  • Lack of physiological needs (including lack of sleep, hunger, etc.)
  • lack of emotional needs
  • feeling disrespected

Here are some tips to stop overreacting

When we talk about psychology, the way you deal with your emotional response is referred to as “emotional regulation“. This practice can involve reducing negative emotions, working to increase positive emotions, or a combination of both.

Here are some tips to avoid overreacting:

1. First identify the triggers

The first thing you need to do is identify the situations in which you most often overreact. Do you keep overreacting to the same thing? For example, you used to feel ignored by your parents and now when your partner ignores you, you overreact. Work on identifying your triggers and see how you can overcome them.

2. Learn to name your emotions

Another good way to stop overreacting is to name your emotions. Instead of just saying, “I’m upset,” try saying, “I’m disappointed that I didn’t do my job.” The more you name your emotions, the easier it will be for you to understand them and address your needs communicate. By doing this, you also decrease your emotional response and learn to better manage your emotional overreaction.

3. Try to feel the opposite emotion

in the Dialectical behavioral therapy, there is a technique called “Opposite Action”. This technique states that you must engage in behavior that is contrary to what you are feeling. For example, if you’re nervous before a job interview, try to pretend you’re excited and confident. I’m not asking you to suppress your emotions, but this technique allows you to remind yourself that your emotional response can be modified and that you can control it.

4. Work on your communication

You can also try improving your communication skills if you’re looking for ways to stop overreacting. You need to listen to others without reading too much into the words or between the lines. You must try to use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. Try saying “I’m disappointed in you” instead of “You never listen to what I say!”

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5. Find healthy ways to vent

When you overreact, it’s easy to let your emotions run wild. To control an overreaction, you need to understand and find healthy ways to vent. These opportunities may include journaling your feelings or finding other avenues that present themselves emotional catharsis. Art therapy can also be a good choice. The idea is to allow yourself to feel the emotions so they don’t fester and cause an even bigger reaction.

6. Seek professional help

Sometimes overreacting isn’t easy to control, and in those moments, lashing out is common. If you are concerned that you are unable to control your emotional overreaction, you should seek professional help. A therapist can help you address your cause and find emotional balance. DBT and CBT can help.

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How can you help someone else not to overreact?

When your loved one tends to overreact, you need to respond with empathy instead of matching their emotional response. Try using “I” statements. Such statements can help them feel heard and not rejected.

Then make sure you don’t react with an emotional overreaction. If you react with the same emotional overreaction as your loved one, then it will likely make the situation worse. If the situation becomes too much, you must walk away until your loved one calms down.

With a little work, you can learn to control your overreaction. Remember that your emotions don’t control your reaction or overreaction. With the right steps, you can learn to control your overreaction, so don’t give up.

I hope these methods I have mentioned will help you learn how to stop overreacting. For more you can write to us at info@calmsage.com or DM us on social media. You can also let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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About the author

Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm Sage and believes in a healthier lifestyle for both mind and body. As a fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and spread awareness to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, he believes in destiny and the power of self. An avid reader and writer, she enjoys spending her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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