Three Powerful Ways to Manage Your Emotions When Conversations Get Heated Three Powerful Ways to Manage Your Emotions When Conversations Get Heated Three Powerful Ways to Manage Your Emotions When Conversations Get Heated Michele Hart Law

Date: December 3, 2022 | Author: Michele Hart

If you’re in the midst of divorce – or any conflict for that matter – you can learn how to immediately calm your emotions when things get heated.  When you do, you’ll be able to think clearly and rationally with solutions that work best.

As humans, we all have that automatic knee-jerk emotional reaction when a conversation suddenly turns heated.  Our brains are biologically hardwired to automatically react to a perceived threat to our safety.  The brain’s automatic “fight, flight, or freeze” reaction literally takes over.

That’s when we lose the very part of our brains we need most to think rationally and intentionally.  That’s when we are likely to say something that makes things worse.

But when a relationship is important or if your goal is to settle your divorce amicably, knowing how to pull out of that automatic reaction and choose how best to respond in the moment is far more likely to get you what you ultimately want.

Here are 3 powerful ways to pull out of “fight, flight, or freeze” during a heated conversation or argument:

1.        Pause and notice.

What are you feeling right now?  Do you feel pressure in your chest or is your heart beating faster as your anger rises?  Focusing on these sensations will help the anger dissipate.  According to Harvard brain scientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, emotions last only 90 seconds.  They are really just like waves in the ocean.

What makes emotions last longer than that are the thoughts and stories we tell ourselves about why we’re feeling a certain way.  For instance, feeling frustrated that someone or something should be different than what is.

Instead, try suspending all thoughts about why you feel angry or frustrated or hurt, which will only make that emotion stronger, and simply notice “I’m feeling angry and I feel my heart beating faster and feel tense in my chest.”

2.        Slow your breathing.

Breathe in and count 1-2-3-4.  Breathe out as you count 1-2-3-4-5-6.  Repeat until the emotion subsides and you can think clearly.

3.       Take a break.

If things get too heated, you can always call a time-out.   Suggest when might be a good time to continue the conversation.

Mastering our emotions during conflict is an invaluable life skill.  Just like with exercise, the more consistent you are, the easier it becomes.

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