On Overreacting

It is not our stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.
– Dr. Hans Selye

ImageWe all have our ‘pet peeves’: those little – or sometimes not so little – things that drive us up the wall and make us lose our grasp of reality. Many times these reactions are a response to continuous stress; or to a series of unpleasant experiences that we endure one after another without properly manifesting our emotions in the right way at the right place and time. Then, something silly happens and we just explode. We’ve all been there: it’s only human.
If we go through life reacting to situations in an automatic and impulse-driven manner, we are definitely going to wind up exhausted. If the smallest things can make us act in an impulsive or even violent way (whether it’s verbally or physically), we also become a source of grief and negativity. Our energy is more powerful than we will ever know. We need to be more careful about what we put out to the world.
Overreacting has many consequences and it’s possible that a considerable portion of them will remain unknown to us. We cause stress and unrest to the lives of others, which in turn puts those people in a mood that makes them more prone to mistakes, distractions and misunderstandings. When we overreact we let anger or shock get the best of us and we become incapable of measuring the reach of our actions. Storming out a door while not paying proper attention might cause us to miss a step, which may result in a fall or a sprained ankle. Many other accidents can take place because of our lack of self control. When we ‘cool down’ we may even say to ourselves: “what was I thinking?”. The answer is simple: we were not thinking, we were just reacting.
Most of us are trying to live a pleasant, placid life. Our intention as humans is to live peacefully, helping others when possible and having patience when confronted with things or people that need our understanding. We also need to understand our place in the big picture: while it’s fun and flattering to think that everything revolves around us, the truth is that (as amazing as we may be) we are but a speck of sand on a pale blue dot floatiing in space. We’re all capable of extraordinary things – if only we realize we’re in this together.
Looking forward to your replies and comments at docbeverly@aol.com.

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