Well you have got a decent head start - I didn't start asking questions until well into my 20s.
That sounds like a logical approach. Part of the problem is that the mind switches into autopilot when it's presented with a 'threatening' situation. I find that sometimes just being aware of what it's doing, is enough to bring me back to conscious control.
Knowing what the correct response is - what I'm replacing the defensive behaviour with - that's the tricky part. If you don't mind my asking, what is the correct response? Say I've just had a crack at you for watching star trek and being a nerd. What do you do?
Or am I completely misreading this in that the appropriate response emerges from a positive mind without conscious interference?