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How to Be Less Reactive to People Emotionally

by Karen Kleinschmidt, studioD

The ability to and the manner in which you handle your emotions is strongly tied to your overall emotional health and psychological well-being, according to HelpGuide.org. Perhaps you noticed or someone kindly pointed out that you react with emotionally intensity to issues that arise. Emotionally sensitive people, as well as those with unresolved emotional conflicts or issues, may experience this on a regular basis until they are able to change their thought processes and behaviors.

Notice what sets you off. Determine if your feelings stem from within you or from external forces. For example, you may become agitated in loud, crowded places resulting in you taking your feelings out on others. Alternatively, you may be reacting to external stimuli, such as someone making a hurtful comment.

Decide if you are a highly sensitive person, someone who may be reactive to loud noises, strong smells or excessive stimuli in his environment, according to Susan Biali, M.D. in her article, "Top 10 Survival Tips For the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)," published on the Psychology Today website. Becoming in tune with your own needs can help you to be less emotionally reactive to others.

Change your daily habits little by little, if you are highly sensitive. This can help you to gain control of your emotions and react less to others in this manner. Biali suggests sleeping at least 7 hours a night, eating a healthy diet, cutting out caffeine and taking down time for yourself on a regular basis to decompress and relax.

Practicing mindfulness, being aware and observing your thoughts and feelings in the present moment without judgment, according to the article, "How Mindfulness Can Help You Regulate Emotions," published on the Psych Central website. Mindfulness can help to reduce distressing emotions and pressures associated with emotional reactivity.

Change your perception of the situation. For example, rather than react by crying, withdrawing or becoming angry over someone else's inconsiderate comment, take a moment or two to reflect on who made the comment, what she knows about you and why she might have said it. If it is someone who doesn't know you well, try to let the comment go without another thought. If it is someone you respect, consider talking to her once your emotions are calm.

Resist the urge to react or take immediate control. Feel your emotions and take a step back from the situation to look at it from the outside. Give yourself as much time as you need before responding. You may find that once you have assessed the situation, you realize you don't feel it necessary to give an emotional response.


  • Consider talking to a therapist or mental health counselor if you feel depressed.


  • Seek professional help for aggressive and violent reactions.

About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

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