Emotional reactivity is an automatic, usually unconscious response, to specific events, situations, or people.
Particularly when we are under stress, emotional reactivity is almost entirely negative. The environment seems more threatening or fraught with uncertainty. Our “buttons get pushed” more easily. We’re more likely to lash out or, if we hold it in, emotionally shut down. This is because when we are under stress it is our body and brain’s natural reaction to go into “fight or flight” mode.
The problem with fight or flight reactions in today’s world is that we are now living in a much safer environment and such drastic reactions are no longer necessary.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to see our emotional reactivity let alone change it because it feels like we are acting on our free will. We think that we’re acting of our own volition when we’re merely reacting to someone else’s negativity. We’ve all uttered (or at least thought) the most ironic of all statements, “You’re not going to bring me down!”
This type of reactive thinking ultimately hurts ourselves, our relationships, and all life interactions. So, in order to stop this type of negative coping we need to ask ourselves some important questions, especially in reference to our behaviour in difficult situations.
Questions To Ask Yourself:
~Are you concerned about getting your buttons pushed?
~Do you ever worry about how you’re going to react at work or home?
~Do you brace yourself before you walk in the house or when you’re home, Do you tense up when you hear your partner close the front door?
~Do you tense up when you get near certain people at work?
~Do you not bring up certain things because you don’t want to think about the response you might get?
~Do you find it hard to think about the future?
If you answered yes to most of the above question then the chances are that you’re an emotionally reactive person. The only way to triumph over emotional reactivity is to hold onto your self-value under stress. By doing so you won’t feel devalued by the behavior or attitudes of other people.
Learning to do that requires switching into the observational brain when you need too. It’s a skill that anyone can learn and that everyone must master in order to have a consistently happy life.
It can be difficult to make this switch in thinking, it’s a skill. Like all skills, it takes practise but anyone can learn and master it.