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Stop Overreacting

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Effective strategies for calming your emotions

Understanding overreactions- We must be aware of the things that triggers our emotions for instance we may overreact to situation that is fueled by past experiences and raw emotions which we have not dealt with yet.  I completely understand how we can get so worked up about something and we must acknowledge our emotions that cause us to overeact and gets us in trouble. Not everyone reacts the same way which is something that I had to learn during the course of my life. Each of us as a different range of emotional equilibrium that is known as “the degree to which we can mange stressful experience in a calm and thoughtful way” (Siegel, 2010,p. 9).

The Exploder and the Imploder

When I saw this title I could relate to the imploder which is the quiet person who puts their feelings aside while the exploder gets very upset and loud. Exploder has a hard time holding on to their feelings and are easily agitated. For instance, a child whose feelings are not noticed by teachers and parents which leads depression or becoming ill. There are three ingredients to overreacting that includes “the event that triggers a sense of danger, an immediate response that involves our emotions as well as our physical state, and an interpretation of unfolding events that may be colored by defenses and emotional memories” (Siegel, 2010, p. 12). The way how we view a situations has an effect on our psychological well-being which has an effect on the way we view a situation.

In order to manage our reactions we must first be aware of the way how we tend to react. Here are some questions to help you with this exercise:

  • When someone gets very angry at your, do you tend to withdraw?
  • Would people who know you describe you as someone who is mainly logical?
  • When the stress in your life builds up, are you likely to feel fatigued or ill?
  • When someone asks you how you are feeling,  do you give them information about events or description of your emotional experience?
  • Do you often zone out or have an escape fantasies?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you are an imploder style. However, here are some other questions for a exploder style:

  • Do you frequently lose your temper or fight about an issue that seems important in the moment but that you barely remember a few weeks later?
  • Do you speak your mind if you think someone has acted inappropriately?
  • When someone challenges you, do you get annoyed and stand up to them?
  • When another car cuts you off in traffic, do you try to catch up to them or start swearing?
  • Do people tell you that you are too emotional?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you are a exploder style.

The following is a body scan exercise that will help you to become aware of your feelings. First, start from a relaxed position, close your eyes and focus on the different parts of your body. Ask yourself is you are aware of carrying any tension in your body. Is your heart racing? Do  your muscles feel tense? How about your neck is it tight?Are your hands relaxed? Are your fingers open or clenched? What does it feel like in your stomach? When you know how your body is when you are relaxed, you will begin to notice  how you change when you are under stress. Secondly, we must explore one of the feelings such as being angry and try to learn more about it. We can look back at how we felt when we were angry  and begin to do a body scan by asking yourselves all the questions in the first part of  this exercise. Think about the tension that you are carrying to different parts of your body, If you are uncomfortable, where do you notice this most? If you feel better, do you notice it in any part of your body? By noticing the different sensations throughout the body you are beginning the grasp a whole new way of exploring your feelings. Thirdly, we can now begin to try a guided exercise where you revisit how you feel when you experience something good. By learning how we felt during that experience we can call it up during the times that we are feeling angry or upset. If you open up yourselves to positive feelings, “you will add to your reservoir of well being” (Forsha, 2000).

 

 

Reference:

Siegel, J. (2010). Stop Overreacting. Effective strategies for calming your emotions. New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

 

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Author: thehealingjourneycounselingfl

Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern in the state of Florida. Professional member of Florida Association for Infants Mental Health and Florida Mental Health Counselors and The American Counseling Association. Field Advocate for Suicide Prevention and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. She is also a mentor, army spouse and works with service members and their families.

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