Have you ever caught yourself overreacting to a situation that did not warrant the response? Have you ever found yourself taking a seemingly innocent action personally? Have you ever misinterpreted an email, a conversation, or the actions or remarks of another? Overreacting suggests that the emotional or physical response was exaggerated in comparison to the actual event or circumstance. We have all had moments like this, but there are actions we can take if we wish to change the way that we respond or react.
We perceive our experiences through our senses (touch, sight, sound, smell and taste) and our interpretation of these experiences determine our response. It is our interpretation that ultimately influences our response to events, circumstances, and people. Every moment we are inundated with a variety of sensory impulses but we only react to the ones that come into our awareness. Those things that we are “tuned into” are most easily filtered into our awareness. For instance, if we are running late for an appointment we would probably only notice the 3 of the 8 traffic lights on our route that were red and become increasingly frustrated, whereas the 5 traffic lights that are green fly right by us without triggering a response. Our interpretation of circumstances, events, and experiences is highly influenced by the filter that you see the world through.
Our thoughts influence our emotions and our emotions direct our reaction. Often we react or overreact before we are even fully aware of what is actually going on. If you are concerned that you overreact (emotionally or physically) to circumstances, it can be beneficial to examine what you are paying attention to. There are two ways to view the world, through a lens of empowerment or through one of disempowerment. You can see that everything is happening TO you or you can see that everything is happening FOR you. Believing that things are happening TO you is disempowering and can leave you feeling like a victim. You may look to blame someone or something for all your problems and react from a place or anger, resentment or grief. The belief that things are happening FOR you is empowering and sets you up to see the gifts and opportunities in situations. When you are acting from a place of empowerment your actions or reactions are more likely to be proportional to the stimulus.
There are times when it feels like bad things are always happening TO us despite our efforts to make things better. The reality is that everyone looks at the world through different filters at different points in their lives. Every day presents itself with events that can be interpreted as opportunities or challenge, but you have the power to decide how you’re going to view the world.
“Within every experience, you hold the power to create an opportunity or an obstacle.” – Dr Julie
Copyright Dr. Julie Doobay 2017