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How to Be Less Reactive and Less Emotional

by C. Giles

While sensitivity is a good quality to have, those who are highly emotional can find life tough. If you are prone to overreacting, you may spend too much time analyzing every little thing that happens in your life, and getting anxious and stressed about things you have little or no control over. However, you can make things easier on yourself by learning how to develop a thicker skin.

Work on being more understanding of others. Whatever someone has done to make you overreact, whether it is a friend being late for a lunch date or a family member starting an argument, try to take a step back from the situation and tell yourself that you can learn from this experience. For example, before you fly off the handle at your tardy friend, consider what is going on in her life that may have caused her to be late. Ask yourself whether it is worth getting so wound up about this situation. By getting a grip on your mind, you can cut down on the emotional distress you put yourself through, says licensed psychotherapist Eric Maisel in the article "10 Tips for Emotional Healing," for Psychology Today.

Find a healthy way to release negative feelings. Keeping them bottled up will only make you feel worse in the long run. You could write down your feelings in a journal, go for a run, or listen to music with lyrics that you can relate to. Some people find it therapeutic to slow down and relax -- perhaps via yoga or meditation -- while others benefit most from excitement and stimulation -- whether that means regularly going out salsa dancing or trying rock climbing.

Pay attention to your physical health, as it has a huge impact on your mental and emotional well-being. Aim to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night, eat a nutritious, balanced diet, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly to increase your body's serotonin levels. Neglecting these basics can make you more prone to overreactive responses, warns licensed clinical social worker Julie Hanks in the article "How to Stop Overreacting" for Psych Central.

Seek professional help if you are struggling to curb your overreactive behavior. Sometimes, the nature and intensity of an emotional reaction stems from an experience in your past that you haven't dealt with, says Hanks. Look for patterns regarding what triggers seem to bring about an overreactive response in you, and consider therapy to help you address old problems and learn how to respond to triggers in a more positive, healthy way.

About the Author

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."

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