Do You Overreact? How to Tell If You Do and What To Do About It



Everyone has a “moment” now and then – we raise our voices, or respond to someone or something more angrily than we’d like. It happens to just about all of us from time to time.

But if you find that more often than not, your response to situations is over the top, and friends are frequently telling you that you’re overreacting, maybe it’s time to take a look at your outlook on life and see if you need to make a change. Sometimes, overreacting can even indicate a mental or emotional problem, such as bipolar disorder or depression.

Here are some tips and suggestions to see if you overreact, and what you can do about it.

Are You Overreacting?

1. You are consumed with self-negating thoughts

If a difficult situation arises and you are filled with thoughts of self-blame and anger toward yourself, it may a sign of overreacting. Here are what some of these self-berating thoughts may sound like:

“I am so stupid!”
“Why can’t I ever handle things like this?”
“I am such an awful person.”
“I am one messed up individual. It’s hopeless.”

The fact is, you’re just human; give yourself some forgiveness and move forward with a plan to do better next time.

2. Feeling out of control

Overreacting can become a problem if you feel totally out of control. You may hate the way you’re responding to a person or situation, but you just can’t stop yourself. It’s like the angry reaction takes over. This is a sign that something may be wrong.

3. Panicky feelings

Do you feel panicky and helpless when you are reacting to something difficult? If your overreactions are indicative of a problem, then you may feel desperate to avoid yet another scenario that you just know is going to play out like all the ones before it.

What Can You Do about It?

Naturally, people who have this issue want to overcome it. Here are some tips:

1. Stop

Just stop. Take a moment and breathe, remove yourself from the situation for a few moments, and look at things from a third-person point of view. Walk away if you need to and say something simple like, “I need to think about this.”

2. Assess

How does your body feel? Tense? Hot? Are you sweating? Is your heart racing? This means you’re reacting strongly – perhaps too strongly – to what’s going on.

3. Cool off

Let your emotions subside a bit. Let it go; think about the big picture. Remember how destructive it is to have an angry confrontation or raise your voice. Your body will literally cool off, and your blood pressure will probably go down.

4. Take action

Now you can take productive action and talk about the situation more clearly and rationally.

By all means, if you feel like you need help, get it. Therapy and counseling can be really beneficial.


  • kdighton

    I honestly think my sister has a mental issue with overreacting and she needs help, but she wont accept it. According to her it’s everyone else’s fault. She needs special help and my parents have given up, i don’t blame them she is so. . . . for lack of better word; exhausting. I also thinks she has a serious problem with attention, when anyone does anything without her she automatically thinks we all hate her and want her to die. Does anyone know what to do. I normally just ignore her, anyway i’m moving out in a few years and, hopefully, will never see her again.

  • Pw Soultrainn

    I know how you feel and understand. you need to find the reason she has been put on this she here to teach, or is she here to learn or.. are you here to teach or.. are you here to learn. Sometimes people will judge the outside without questioning the inside. I hope we all find the right path….God Bless