Joy Ignites Success

Are you guilty of overreacting?

By - Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Okay, I’ll admit it first. Sometimes I overreact. Not always and not to all things. But when it comes to physical pain, sometimes I might be accused of being overly dramatic.
But last week, I did something different.
I was stung by a nasty wasp in our shed. It’s true, I invaded its home, and he or she may have been appropriately annoyed. But I didn’t know what I was walking into! I just wanted to get the lawn chairs for the party last weekend.
At first, I didn’t realize I’d been stung. I felt it hit my arm, nothing more. But then my arm started to burn just a bit, and I knew I was doomed.  Yes, doomed. The last wasp sting hurt like heck for hours and I was anticipating the pain. Then I caught myself! And remembered everything I teach. That getting jacked up wasn’t going to help the situation and it could actually make it worse.  I remembered that I didn’t have to get hysterical, start crying and pretend the world was coming to an end.

So I calmed myself down, went into the house and ran cold water over the sting. That felt good, so I kept doing it. Then I googled what to do and followed directions and applied an ice pack. Then I called my husband to do an NMT treatment on me.  And I kept breathing.
To my surprise, there was no pain after the initial burn. Apparently, what makes a sting so painful is a histamine reaction. We could attribute my lack of reaction to the water, ice and treatment. But I know there’s more to it. I know that my being able to settle myself down and manage my own stress and not go into drama mode is what made all the difference.
 “It is widely recognized that the degree to which we are histamine intolerant is greatly influenced by our level of emotional distress.” – (read more at
Well, maybe, but I did not know that on a conscious level. What I did know is that stress increases inflammation in the body and inflammation wouldn’t be helpful.
How does this apply to you and everyday life? It’s a closer correlation than you might imagine. When you allow yourself to indulge in drama, you are physically creating inflammation in your body. Inflammation is designed to protect the body against threat, but when the threat is not real, the inflammation becomes the threat itself. It prevents you from having full access to your heart, brain and highest self. When you overreact, your grip on reality is diminished and you can’t see or think clearly. You create more pain and suffering.
So next time you get stung by a bee or a co-worker or anything at all, see if you can get conscious for just a moment and check the overreaction at the door. I’d love to hear what you discover.

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About MSI

Melanie Smithson Institute is dedicated to enriching lives through embodied education and training; using movement, play and releasing to connect with innate wisdom and joy.  

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