Conflict and difficult conversations are never easy, especially when it comes to controlling our emotions. Our body’s natural response to a tense moment triggers chaos within our nervous system – our muscles tighten, our heart rate spikes, and we breathe faster and heavier. When we refer to feeling anger, we sometimes use the term ‘blood boiling’ because the blood actually moves away from our organs causing an unpleasant sensation.
When our body reacts this way, it’s nearly impossible to respond in a rational manner because stress takes over our mind clouding our rational thinking. For this reason it’s so important to learn how to control our emotions to solve problems rather than create more. The following techniques are helpful during those tense times…
Don’t ignore your feelings. Step outside of the situation to distance yourself from your emotions. When you acknowledge and label what emotion is coming up, you can tackle it a whole lot easier.
Simple mindfulness should be practiced daily – when you focus on your breath inhaling and exhaling your mind and body relax. This technique will become your best friend when things get heated.
Another meditation technique along with breathing is to say a mantra, a word or phrase used to relax and concentrate. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to say your mantra out loud, but you can focus on those powerful words in your mind even if it’s as simple as saying ‘calm down’.
There’s nothing wrong with walking away from a situation. When you excuse yourself, you allow yourself time to think to respond appropriately and also to cool off that steam. Be mindful not to walk away out of anger, simply let the other person know you have to go to the bathroom or have to run an errand and will continue the conversation later. And once you’re alone, feel free to imagine or say everything you wanted to say back in that moment!