Stop Overreacting: Effective Strategies for Calming Your Emotions


When you are criticized or rejected, do you have a tendency to lash out or withdraw entirely? Both types of knee-jerk reactions can have lasting and unintended consequences, affecting our friendships, careers, families, and romantic relationships. The truth is, overreacting hurts us as much as it hurts the people around us. You may see overreacting as an unchangeable part of your personality, but in reality, this tendency, like any other, can be unlearned.

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Stop Overreacting: Effective Strategies for Calming Your Emotions

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When you are criticized or rejected, do you have a tendency to lash out or withdraw entirely? Both types of knee-jerk reactions can have lasting and unintended consequences, affecting our friendships, careers, families, and romantic relationships. The truth is, overreacting hurts us as much as it hurts the people around us. You may see overreacting as an unchangeable part of your personality, but in reality, this tendency, like any other, can be unlearned.

Stop Overreacting helps you identify your emotional triggers, discover a new way of processing impulsive thoughts and feelings, and understand how your emotions can undermine your ability to think rationally in moments of crisis and stress. You'll learn how to neutralize overwhelming emotions and choose healthy responses instead of flying off the handle. Ready to make a change for the better? It's time to stop overreacting and start feeling collected and in control.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A marriage and family therapist, and associate professor at NYU’s Ehrenkranz School of Social Work, Siegel became interested in neurobiology, the connection between the brain and emotions, when she saw first-hand the self-destructive impact of overreactions on not only those who suffer them, but on their family, friends, and co-workers as well. Using extensive research, poignant and identifiable case studies from her own 30 years of clinical experience, and pointed inquiries and exercises, Siegel painstakingly examines the why and how of overreacting. Since ”mind and body, present and past are all parts of the puzzle that make up an emotional overreaction,“ the memories and defenses we have assembled since childhood, coupled with the way our parents dealt with problems and handled stress, help determine whether we "cry, rage, withdraw or become deeply pessimistic" when pushed to react. With analysis for understanding what triggers these behaviors, chapters that tackle stressful home and workplace situations, and methods for challenging old emotional memories and harmful family myths or expectations, Siegel’s call to action will help overreactors, and anyone who suffers them, to stop. (July)
From the Publisher
"Judith Siegel has given us a book with the force of revelation. Using exciting new research findings on brain physiology, she connects the emotional self to the body in which it lives in a manner that is both readable and wonderfully engaging. Stop Overreacting is a real tour de force; a book that is impossible to put down."
—Maggie Scarf, author of Intimate Partners: Patterns in Love and Marriage and Secrets, Lies, Betrayals: The Body/Mind Connection

"Judith Siegel's Stop Overreacting captures the essential emotional problems that cause people distress. Even better, she clearly delineates very useful and accessible strategies for resisting emotional overload and destructive responses to emotional situations. Stop Overreacting is a valuable guidebook for navigating the basic struggles of our emotional world."
—Beth Jacobs, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, adjunct faculty member of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and author of Writing for Emotional Balance

"Finally, a practical book that gets at what the real triggers are for overreacting in everyday situations. A terrific integration of varied ideas about how to understand present-day overreactions in light of past experiences, especially past relationship experiences. This book goes way beyond most guides to help readers think rationally and mindfully."
—Alan S. Gurman, Ph.D., emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572247239
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
  • Publication date: 7/1/2010
  • Series: Unassigned Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 330,949
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith P. Siegel, PhD, LCSW, is associate professor at Silver School of Social Work at New York University. She has published extensively in the field of family therapy and has presented throughout the United States. She has also appeared on the Today Show and Good Morning America.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 5, 2011

    This is a pretty good self help book if you really want to find your emotional center.

    This brief, little book attempts to explain the differences between people who explode and people who use the right emotional side of their brain, governed by the frontal lobe and amygdala. It proved to be a more powerful book than I expected.

    It then attempts to help the reader to find a better way to solve problems, without letting one side or the other rule, without striking out, without retreating inside oneself, and instead, it tries to help the reader find out the underlying cause of these overreactions so there will be a more sensible response, neither implosion or explosion, since both of these reactions do not lead to viable solutions. Using just the right amount of each side of the brain to reach a solution, coupled with the knowledge of why we react to different stimuli in different ways and what in our past triggers these reactions, we are able to think more clearly and make better judgments in troubling situations.

    Unlike many other self help books I have read, this one gives examples that the reader can really identify with, since they don't seem plucked from a tree of anecdotes. Also there are a series of exercises at the end of the chapter to help the reader work through issues and distinguish which behavior is caused by certain memories of the past so that the reactions can be controlled in a better way and the problems can be worked through using healthier behavior.

    This book can really assist the reader because the examples given are easily identified with and feelings are easily processed with the exercises provided. One can even skim the book to find the areas of most concern. If one can learn what triggers the distorted reactions, and then stop the immediate knee-jerk response, the consequences after the confrontation will be neutral.
    Why are we envious, jealous, angry? What sets off our fight or flight reaction? If we can figure that out, we can lead a happier more centered life. Who wouldn't want that?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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