Nobody wants to be that hothead who flies off the handle in the face of some everyday annoyance, causing others to roll their eyes and wonder, “What’s wrong with him?”
But people who experience extreme reactions to stress–from a racing heart to full-blown rage–may be hard-wired to do so, researchers are finding. It isn’t known how many people are highly reactive to stress, but the tendency can endure for years or a lifetime.
People who overreact often can’t explain why a minor project setback or a child’s spilled juice can unleash a volcanic response.
“They think they’re weird, wondering, ‘Why don’t other people react like this?’ ” says Lois Barth, a New York-based life coach who works with stress-reactive people on performing better at work and reaching personal goals. “But many people can’t help it.”