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How to Stop Overreacting

Do you fly off the handle for “no reason”? Have you been accused of being “hot-headed”? When the emotional intensity and severity of your behavior doesn’t match the situation at hand, you are overreacting.

There are two kinds of overreactions: external and internal. External overreactions are visible responses that others can see (for example, lashing out in anger, throwing your hands up and walking away from a situation).  Internal overreactions are emotional responses that remain inside of you that others may or may not be aware of.  Examples of internal overreactions are replaying a situation over and over in your head, wondering if you said the right thing, or overanalyzing a comment made by a friend or loved one.

In her book Stop Overreacting: Effective Strategies for Calming Your Emotions, author Dr. Judith P. Siegel suggests asking yourself the following questions to assess whether you have a problem with overreacting.

4 Comments to
How to Stop Overreacting

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  1. Thank you for this article – I certainly overreact to many situations and I do so inwardly.

    The trouble I have is when it comes to “putting a positive spin on things”. I do try to do this, but it’s not effective for me because I’m aware that I’m just making assumptions about the situation, just as reacting with cognitive distortions is. Unless I have proof of any of the positive angles I try to put on a situation, I don’t believe them and fall back to my default automatic negative thoughts.

    How can I stop this pattern of thinking? I did CBT for 4 years with an individual T and I still overreact to many situations to the point where it is really depressing me.

  2. good article

  3. I sometimes catch myself having overreacted after it’s happened. In those situations a apology is warranted and given.

  4. To be honest, I think this is bs because when you are actually angry this stuff is hard to remember….. You just lash out, it’s like a reflex action


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