top of page

Overreactions vs. Reactions

Ever been the victim of your own severe reaction and then had to suffer the consequences? Me too. Dating and relationships naturally involve potent emotions and therefore the risk of blowing up your life as a result of feeling hurt or disappointed is greatly heightened. Here's the difference between reacting and overreacting and how you can avoid self sabotage.

Overreactions tend to evoke such a visceral response that you feel it in your body. It could be witnessing something you consider immoral, a provocative text or a robust discussion. What you do in response to these situations matters, and often more than we realise in the heat of the moment. How can you ensure that you’re reacting sensibly rather than overreacting recklessly? Physiologically there’s not a huge amount of difference between a reaction and an overreaction. Linguistically speaking a reaction is an action or a statement in response to a stimuli or situation. An overreaction is excessive and more often than not involves explosive emotions. Overreactions tend to come with a physiological response. That is we can physically note ourselves reacting; it might be a dizziness, increased heart rate, sweatiness or a warm flush. Along with this we FEEL something acutely; disgust, anger, sadness, embarrassment. These types of responses are regulated by the autonomic nervous system which is charged with the internal “fight or flight” response. As per the norm, I’m going to bring a questionable analogy into the mix to help us to determine the difference between the two, and choose our weapons more wisely. A reaction is like a well trained sniper gun. It is balanced and direct. It’s well thought out and pointed directly at its target. You pull the trigger and articulately communicate your message with minimal mess and no extra carnage. Bullseye. An overreaction on the other hand is like a fucking hand grenade. You panic, don’t have time to think, and won’t allow yourself to. The fear driving you tells you to pull the pin and walk away. There’s no logical thought or processing, it's simply blow it up and run. You pull the pin, chuck it and walk away leaving absolute chaos behind you and carnage shaped regret when you eventually return to rationality and realise that you’ve just blown something to shit with absolutely no air of sophistication or maturity.

When faced with a situation that ignites emotion in you, take a minute, take 45 minutes and choose your weapon carefully. I can guarantee that the sniper is always your safest bet. If in doubt, don’t detonate.


bottom of page