I’m going to help you learn to be less reactive by teaching you something about how the Neurodiverse brain works that no one ever taught you.
Conventional wisdom tells you you have the power to choose your thoughts. If you’re feeling a certain way, just change your thinking and all is well.
Enter neurodiversity, a brain on alert and playing defense by default.
Therefore, the first thought you have in response to new sensory experience is going to be automatic.
That means you aren’t choosing it. Your brain sends a flare up saying, “Innncominnnngggg!” because it assumes anything coming in is a threat.
How easily are you startled?
Are your senses (e.g. smell, touch) more sensitive than others. Do you avoid new places because you don’t know what it’ll feel like physically to be there? Are compliments uncomfortable?
This first thought might happen so fast the only thing you notice is the anxiety, anger or other reaction that thought triggered.
That’s what’s happening. What do you do about it?
You want to prevent this first thought (which assumes threat) from highjacking your brain and sending you careening into Catastrophic Canyon.
What you can do is treat those strong emotional responses as someone shaking you by the shoulders to WAKE YOU UP and get your attention.
It isn’t someone meaning to do you harm. It’s someone holding you tightly in a supportive way.
As you notice the physical sensation of fear, anger, etc., you can think to yourself, “Alright! I’m alert, you have my attention.”
Assigning this meaning to it keeps you in the moment and prevents your thinking from going full catastrophe.
The reaction will naturally subside, now that it has your attention and acceptance.
You’re now free to choose your second thought, now that the automatic one is out of the way.
It’s the calm mind that chooses best which thoughts to follow.