How Do You Know If You’re Over-Reacting?

September 17, 2009 | By | Comments (1)

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you didn’t know if you were overreacting – or not? Whether you should be worried – or not? Whether you need to get a different doctor or a different boyfriend?

I’ve developed a mental trick that often works. If I’m not sure about my reaction to some event, I imagine someone describing the situation to me as if it happened to a stranger. That often clarifies my view.

Or I imagine how I’d act if a member of my family was receiving the treatment I’ve been getting. If my sister had called me and described my work situation as her own, would I tell her she should think about getting a new job?


Along the same lines, I remember reading somewhere that writer Anne Lamott thinks about herself in the third person, to take better care of herself: “I’m sorry, Anne Lamott can’t accept that invitation to speak; she’s finishing a book so needs to keep her schedule clear.”)

Evaluating your situation as if you weren’t involved – but instead, some other person – can give clarity and perspective. Have you found any good strategies for figuring out if you’re over-reacting – or under-reacting – to a situation?

The days are long, but the years are short.