I recently experienced a long train delay. The train was 30 minutes late and then proceeded to progress slowly along the tracks. Many passengers used colourful language to express their frustration although others, like myself, remained calm, with a c’est la vie attitude.
The situation reminded me of a psychology course that I was on over 25 years ago. The trainer cited an example of a fatal incident, where a passenger took their own life by jumping in front of a tube train. He said one passenger shouted: “How the f*** do I get to work now?” while another became violently sick on the platform. It made me think of how we all react differently to situations and events.
Within the workplace we can see how colleagues and parents react differently, for example, when receiving news or during an ‘incident’.
It’s helpful to know that we all react differently to the world around us, due to a number of factors, such as modelling behaviour patterns from childhood, to a lack of emotional maturity and intelligence.
By knowing that individuals do react differently, it’s important to support and discuss sensitively how their reaction may impact on others and their long-term emotional and physical well-being. Do signpost, if necessary, to organisations that may help with unresolved trauma and emotional issues. I’ve discussed previously the importance of making good use of supervision and signposting individuals to other agencies.
Indeed, some individuals in our opinion may ‘overreact.’ But there is always a reason for their ‘overreaction.’ We need less judgement and more understanding.
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