How we react to things has a huge impact on our lives. It affects our relationships, our jobs and our mental wellbeing. Emotional reactions can happen so fast that it feels as though you have no control over it, like a knee-jerk reflex. Certain things can trigger a strong emotional response in some people, due to past experiences. In these instances, logical thinking is overridden and an outburst occurs.
While frequency and intensity varies from person to person, we are all prone to overreacting in certain situations. Instead of feeling at the mercy of emotional responses, adopt techniques which enable you to take back control and act as a means of damage limitation.
Resist the urge to act on impulse
This is the most difficult, yet most crucial step to master before you can get a handle on how you respond in moment's madness. When an emotional response is triggered, every cell in your body will scream at you to take immediate action, however you must dig deep and refrain from this. Breath, take a walk, remove yourself from the situation, whatever it takes to allow the intensity of your feelings to pass, which they will.
Acting on impulse will only lead to you doing something you later regret. Remind yourself that if the issue is still an issue once you've regained composure, then you will be in a far better position to deal with it. Often, by the time the emotional fog has cleared we realise that the issue wasn't what we thought, or we had imagined it.
Find positive outlets for pent-up emotions
Once the initial wave of emotion has subsided, don't then bottle up your feelings and pretend it never happened. Use a clear mindset to find ways of dealing with any problems. If you realise that you were responding to a trigger from a past experience, which isn't something you can deal with in the here and the now, then find positive outlets for these stored-up emotions. Physical exercise, especially rigorous types such as martial arts, is a powerful way of purging toxic emotional residue from the body.
Explore and identify your triggers
Only you can truly know what causes you to react in a certain way. Even though most of our actions stem from the subconscious mind, which means it can be a mystery even to ourselves. However, it is possible to actively seek out what triggers an emotional response in you and the external circumstances surrounding it. The reaction is merely a symptom of an underlying cause and while it may be impossible to pinpoint exactly, exploring any issues you have puts you on the road to resolving the matter.