Most of us have moments when we overreact. It can happen in meetings, in one-on-one conversations, over email, and in personal relationships.
Sometimes we just cannot help ourselves–but there is always a price to pay.
When you find yourself saying things you never thought you’d say, or taking things too personally even though you know better, when you allow your feelings to determine your state of mind, that’s when you get into trouble.
The trick to avoiding overreaction is to refocus on what you really want instead of letting your reactions getting the best out of you. Here are some tools to help.
1. Let your body do the thinking.
Reacting comes out of anger and disappointment; responding comes out of awareness and understanding. If you can stay connected to how you feel and what your body is telling you, you can quiet your reaction and allow a more reasoned response to take its place.
2. Create a life with a different view.
Overreactions are generally disproportional to the problem, and we become more likely to escalate what is happening to become complex and filled with conflict. Instead, remember that everything contains different perspectives, depending on where you stand and what you look at. From a different angle, things may look very different.
3. Take back control before you lose control.
Overreactions generally involve feeling a loss of control. When that happens, we tend to cast ourselves as the victim, at the mercy of others–in short, we give away our power. Instead, you can choose to take back your control by being responsible for your feelings and accountable for your actions, behavior and thoughts.
4. Expect nothing and appreciate everything.
When expectations aren’t met and we become unhappy or even bitter, we turn assumptions into premeditated resentments. Expectations are often more based on wishes than reality, and assumptions are often self-centered, not taking into account the needs or feelings of others. When you can recognize these patterns, it becomes much easier to consider other perspectives and the possibility of different outcomes instead of holding on to your assumptions. When you expect nothing you can learn to appreciate all that you have.
5. Don’t wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it work.
Don’t get caught up in any moment that isn’t working for you. Sometimes when we are upset, angry or disappointed, we forget to breathe or take care of ourselves. We allow our reactions to grow bigger and bigger until they surpass everything else. When you are you are busy reacting you cannot respond to your own needs. So the next time you are angry, upset and irritated, remember to stop and take care of yourself before you break down.
6. Keep letting it go until you are done.
At any time we can choose to hold on or to let go. It’s OK to say “This bothers me,” but it’s another to let it take hold of you. It’s not always easy, but sometimes you have to let something go and keep it away. And the truth is that however many times it comes back to your thoughts, that’s how many times you can let it go. It doesn’t happen all at once, and it’s not easy–just remind yourself that you can let go as many times as you feel you need to. Each time you begin again until you feel you have let it go completely.
Managing our reactions can help us respond better to our lives, leadership and living.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
THE LEADERSHIP GAP
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.