Why overreacting hurts your focus and how to stop doing it

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Take a deep breath and reduce your risk of overreacting.

Have you ever wished you could go back in time and take back your reaction? While you can’t do that, you CAN take control of your emotional reactions going forward. I’ve asked my friend and fellow LinkedIn Learning instructor, Gemma Leigh Roberts, to share some advice on increasing your emotional intelligence for this purpose.

Gemma recommends you start by using “Four by Four Breathing”:

  1. Taking a slow, deep breath in while counting to four.
  2. Slowly breathe out to the same count.
  3. Continue doing this until you have mentally drawn a square (each breath in or out is a line).

You’ll force yourself to slow down and stop focusing on the emotions that are causing you to overreact to a situation. Then, once you are calm, you can react appropriately without regret. This will not only reduce stress, which affects your ability to focus, but also stops you from damaging relationships.

When was the last time you felt you overreacted?


If you’re interested in more ways to improve on your emotional intelligence, be sure to take Gemma’s course on LinkedIn Learning: “Developing Your Emotional Intelligence” at https://www.linkedin.com/learning/developing-your-emotional-intelligence.

Dave’s courses are on LinkedIn Learning and offer guidance on improving your time management, productivity, focus, and more!