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We all have long, tiring days where we feel more irritable and react too quickly. And while overreacting to minor inconveniences can appear as a personality trait to some, it's an entirely natural occurrence that we all experience. 

Although it's completely okay to feel your emotions and want to explode from time to time, it doesn't always feel great, nor does it help the situation. If you've been told that you're "too sensitive" or "overthink things," you know how intense and overwhelming it can be. But how do you know if your emotional response is appropriate or if you're overreacting?

Check out these 5 signs to get a better understanding:

  1. You’re stressed or anxious. The psychology of overreacting explains that people overreact to protect themselves against threats. When we perceive a "threat" to our wellbeing, the body activates the stress response. Stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released to prepare you to either fight the potential threat or run away from it. Your heart starts racing, your body temperature increases, and you may even experience physical symptoms like stomach aches. While this response helps avoid a car accident, it can also cause you to overreact to an insult. 

  2. You didn’t sleep well. Sleep helps us restore our emotional brain circuits to prepare us for the next day. And without quality sleep, research shows that the vibrant centers of the brain are 60% more reactive. The brain finds it more challenging to put emotional experiences or triggers into context and produce appropriate, rational responses. 

  3. You’re hungry. Although it doesn't excuse unhealthy behaviors, hunger does play a role in the way we feel.  When you haven't eaten for a while, your blood sugar decreases, triggering the same stress hormones released when you're anxious, stressed, or sleep-deprived, which can cause aggression or other impulsive behaviors. 

  4. You were triggered. Everyone has their triggers, meaning we can all be overly sensitive to specific criticisms, fears, etc., based on our past experiences. What can seem like a minor insult to some can be a trigger that releases years' worth of pain for others. When this happens, we tend to have a more significant reaction than the moment deserves. Some people take these overwhelming emotions out on those around them, while others turn inwards. 

  5. You’re a highly sensitive person. Being an HSP has its pros and cons. You may be easily offended by those who don't mean any harm or misunderstand their intentions. Highly sensitive people become overwhelmed by tension, aggression, and conflict more than others. On the other hand, your sensitivity can be viewed as a natural strength. You're more likely to empathize with others, be deeply moved by beauty, and have a rich, complex inner life. 

Overreactions can also appear as:

  • Dissociation-or severe anxiety that separates you from the present moment
  • Perfectionism
  • Trouble accepting the current situation or circumstances
  • Difficulty recognizing other perspectives

These signs of overreacting don't mean your feelings aren't valid. However, you may benefit from finding ways to manage and express your feelings productively. Not only will it help you feel in control of your emotions, but it'll benefit your mental health in the long run.

If you experience any of these signs frequently or find that they disrupt your day-to-day functioning,  you may benefit from working with a mental health professional. CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of therapy that helps you recognize and understand the connection between your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. 

It’s no doubt that parenting comes with its challenges. And if you’re the parent of a teen, you may feel concerned, hurt, or surprised by some of their behaviors at times. While they push against the system in their search for independence, you're at your wit's end.  

The good news is, your teen goes through phases, and their behavior typically changes as they grow older. In the meantime, here 8 tips for dealing with a difficult teen:


  1. Keep your cool. If you feel like your teens have an "attitude" without cause, the first thing you need to do is stop and take a deep breath. The less reactive you are, the better you can use your judgment in handling the situation. In some cases, you may need to check your understanding. Sometimes teens can be disrespectful without the intention of being rude. 

  2. Be a role model. One of the most important things you can do is model the kind of behavior you want to see. Your teens are constantly observing you as a role model. So if you swear often but expect them not to, they'll have trouble understanding why it's not okay for them to do. On the other hand, if you want your teen to act respectfully towards you, you'll need to adopt the same attitude towards them. 

  3. Reframe your teen’s situation. Therapists often use the reframing technique as a way to interpret or view a problem differently. By shifting your perspective, you'll gain more insight into their actions, which is usually followed by acting or thinking about things differently. And here's the excellent news—when a parent responds in different ways, there is no choice for the teen but to act differently, too.

  4. Establish clear boundaries. It's no doubt that teens will test you at some point. And in a family where children have had it their way most of the time, or where there are few firm or inconsistent rules, disrespect in teens is almost inevitable. Inconsistency occurs when different rules are arbitrarily applied on different days without reason or when one parent is laxer while the other is strict. It's essential to set clear directions and boundaries-which requires some practice to master. If possible, discuss them with your teen beforehand.

  5. Avoid unnecessary arguments. Instead of engaging in a power struggle, stay calm and remember to focus on their behavior. Although it's not always easy, remember that you're better able to control your emotions than them as an adult. Anger can lead to saying things you regret later on and can unnecessarily escalate the situation. As an adult, remember that you have more control over your emotions. Put this advantage to good use!

  6. Listen. If and when a teen comes to you, recognize their efforts in trusting you. Pay attention and listen without commenting. Allow them to feel at ease disclosing with you. Before offering any feedback or opinion, ask them if they want to hear it. If not, that’s okay. Knowing that you’re there and willing to hear them out can mean more than the best advice.

  7. Don’t make it personal. In addition to keeping your cool, keep your focus on their behavior rather than who they are as a person. Focusing on their behavior makes it easier for everyone involved to stay calm and avoid getting overly emotional. 

  8. Take care of yourself. If you're constantly stressed or overwhelmed, your relationship with your teen will be evidence of that.  Remember that you're doing the best you can and devote some time to ensure you're staying healthy emotionally and physically.


Getting additional support 

If you feel that you could benefit from receiving additional support, consider working with a licensed mental health professional. Whether you decide to go alone or with your teen, working with a therapist can help you navigate the choppy waters of adolescence.

Most of us have at least one aspect of our physical appearance we don't like. And with the constant barrage from media influences, we can grow increasingly uncomfortable about the way we look. Our body image can become stressful and disrupt our work, social lives, and health in some cases.

If you have a negative body image, you may:

  • Compare yourself with others or feel inadequate in doing so
  • Feel shame, or embarrassment
  • Lack confidence
  • Feel uncomfortable or awkward in your body
  • See parts of your body in a distorted or unrealistic way.

Mental health issues can occur due to a negative body image, such as depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. One percent of the population experience BDD, or Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a mental health condition characterized by a continued obsession with a part or all of their body in a negative way. For example, they may ask for cosmetic surgery to correct their nose's size when it appears normal to everyone else. BDD can become severely distressful and interfere with daily functioning.


6 tips for improving body image

Although one list can’t tell you how to turn negative thoughts about your appearance into positive ones, it can introduce healthier ways of thinking about yourself and your body. 


  1. Appreciate all that your body can do. Your body works hard for you every day. Recognize all of the fantastic things it does-like walking, breathing, laughing, etc.; Your body has brought you to this moment and helped you survive every event in your life. Cherish it for all that it's done and continues to do. 

  2. Notice your inner critic. Having a negative body image is like having a critic in your head. The critic is a harsh, derogatory narrative that makes nasty comments about recognizing the thoughts you have about yourself and challenging them. Counteract those thoughts with your natural strengths, even if they're not necessarily physical. Write a list of the things you love about yourself or write a love letter. Or, practice writing something positive about yourself and your body each morning. Keeping an ongoing list will promote a new, healthy mindset on how you see and feel about yourself. Share it with others, and keep it handy for "off" days.

  3. Stop comparing. It's natural to compare yourself to others. And for some, it's become a habit that happens hundreds of times a day. It's hard to stop comparing. Try to recognize when you compare yourself to others. Note the situations it occurs most frequently in, who you compare yourself to, and your reactions. How does it impact you? is there anything you can say that would be more helpful or realistic? 

  4. Practice self-acceptance. This is one of the essential keys to overcoming a negative body image.  Cognitive techniques, such as developing alternative thoughts or positive mantras, effectively help identify and change critical thinking. Although it takes some time to adopt this type of thinking, it's worth every second. 

  5. Detox from social media. It takes time to unlearn or change what social media has taught us to believe. While social media can be helpful for many reasons, it can also lead you down a rabbit hole of self-hatred. Learn to recognize the harmful messages you see and make a conscious effort to separate yourself from them. If you don't want to go cold turkey, try setting limits on how much time you spend on social media. The "break" could give you the space and mental clarity you need to reset your body image.

  6. Surround yourself with loving, positive people. If you find that specific environments or people trigger your inner critic, take note and act accordingly. Surround yourself with those who are positive and supportive.

  7. How do you see yourself? If a negative body image affects your well-being or experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder, anxiety, or depression, reach out to your health care provider for help. You could also speak with your doctor about medications for anxiety or depression. There's always help available for you to create a healthier, more positive self-image.

When most of us hear the word "gossip," we resort to thinking about malicious rumors or a juicy secret. But gossip can generally be defined as "talking about someone who isn't present”. Whether it’s a conversation with your co-workers, or a group chat with your friends, we all gossip. And, it’s something that comes naturally for many of us.

So why do people gossip?

As social creatures, we’re hard-wired for connection. And sometimes, gossip can provide us with a sense of bonding that we all lure, regardless of whether the conversation is positive or negative. 

Some experts view gossip as evidence of cultural learning, where we learn what’s socially acceptable and what’s not. For example, if someone lies frequently and people start talking bout that person negatively, the collective criticism is intended to warn others of the consequences of lying. 

Generally speaking, most gossip falls into the “negative” category.  people gossip for a variety of reasons:

To feel superior. Many people who are insecure about themselves find temporary relief in judging others. Knowing something that others don't can feel empowering, and sometimes, that's all an uncertain gossiper needs. But, it can also make you appear untrustworthy.

They have a sadistic personality. Emotional sadism- someone who comes off as harsh, aggressive, intimidating, or demeaning is rooted in gossip. This type of character enjoys knowing that someone else is experiencing pain or misfortune, delighted that it's not happening to them.

They’re bored. When people can't generate exciting discussions based on knowledge or ideas, gossip can arouse people's interest.

Anxiety. Anxious people are more likely to spread rumors and partake in gossip, according to research. And since uncertainty or feeling out of control is significant in anxiety, gossiping can make someone get that sense of control back.

To feel like part of the group. Alongside that feeling of connection we desire, sometimes people gossip to feel like they belong to the group. Being the center of someone or a group's attention while gossiping can be compared to buying attention. Yet, this feeling of acceptance isn't based on a person's identity or personality but exclusion or maliciousness.


Coping with gossip

If you’re caught in the midst of a gossiping conversation, consider the following strategies to help you cope:

Focus on the positive. If you feel like you're drowning in negativity, talk about the positive things you know about the person being gossipped about. You'd be surprised how a shift in perspective can change the tone of the conversation.

Recognize how gossiping makes you think or feel differently. Not everyone gets excited to hear secret information about other people. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, try your best to avoid it. 

If you’re the target of hurtful gossip, take the following strategies into consideration:

Direct the gossipper directly. If someone is spreading rumors about you, address it with them. A gossiper doesn't anticipate being addressed by the person they're talking about. Assertively expressing your feelings without blaming or accusing can be an effective way to illustrate the effects of gossip. Doing so may help the person spreading the word or rumors realize the impact of their actions.

Ignore it. Sometimes, it takes more energy and effort to address it than it does. It ignores it. It's not worth addressing. For example, if you're a manager at your job, your employees will inevitably talk about you. Ultimately, rumors become less noteworthy over time, and people generally forget them over time.

De-identify from the situation. Recognize that the actions of others aren't a reflection of who you are. They are projections of the other person, whether that person is anxious or wants attention. People lash out, gossip, and focus on other people to protect themselves. 

Dealing with gossippers and being the subject of a rumor is challenging. Although you can't always control the things others say about you, you can control how you respond to them-and ultimately become resilient.

About Insight Therapy

Insight Therapy is a professional mental health private practice located in Champaign - Urbana. Insight Therapy offers individual therapy, couples counseling, family counseling, and professional mediation services to clients of all ages and issues.

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Insight Therapy, LLC
3362 Big Pine Trail
Suite A
Champaign, Illinois 61822

Phone: (217) 383-0151
Fax: (217) 633-4555

Practice Areas

Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Addiction, Couples Counseling, Eating Disorders, Sexual Abuse Survivor, School Anxiety, Women's Issues, Relationship Issues, BiPolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, Family Issues, Couples Counseling, Mediation, and more!