For many of us, it can be incredibly hard to stay calm when it feels like we’re being sucked into an argument. Psychologists, however, have many tools that can help – and we’re here to share them with you.
Conflict is natural – and no matter how naturally calm you may be, you will encounter it at some point in your life. How you choose to respond to that conflict, however, is something you can control.
In particular, it takes emotional intelligence. Low emotional intelligence makes it harder to stay calm, which can fuel further conflict, while high emotional intelligence makes it easier for you to keep your emotions under control, so you can better stay calm.
Fortunately, you can develop your emotional intelligence – and these six tools can help.
1. Active listening
People start arguing when they have the feeling that they are not being heard. But, instead of immediately participating in the argument you need to be very attentive and active listening.
The technique: Once the person starts to talk you need to focus and give all the attention to the person talking. Discard all the present thoughts of creating a response. When the person finishes its arguing or speaking, you have acquired all the necessary information to respond wisely and intelligently.
2. Ask questions
Why: Open-ended questions are invaluable in conflict resolution. First, open-ended questions demonstrate that you are attentively listening. Second, these type of questions show respect for the person by allowing them to articulate their thoughts.
How: Learning to ask open-ended questions can be a bit tricky for some people. The easiest way to avoid asking “Yes” or “No” questions is not to use the words “Do,” “Don’t,” “Did,” and “Didn’t” when asking a question. Instead, use the words “What,” “Why,” “When,” and “How.” Try it now. Notice the difference?
3. Body concentration
By focusing on your body, you become more aware of the physical sensations of stress – the tension in your shoulders, your shallow breathing, and more.
As a result, by concentrating on your body, you can return your posture to a neutral or even positive state – and that more open, calm, and relaxed posture can help diffuse tensions naturally.
4. Controlled breaths
Taking deep breaths will help you remain calm because slow and shallow breathing are the body’s usual responses when in an argument. Deep breaths are excellent for reducing the production of adrenaline and cortisol which are stress hormones. So, try to take deep and long breaths and you will relax much faster. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Keep your voice down
Raising your voice is the easiest way to start or escalate a conflict. On the other hand, lowering it can be very helpful if you are trying to resolve the conflict. Try to calm the other person first by lowering your voice which can impart a sense of calm that can be a step forward to resolving the issue causing the conflict.
6.Agree to disagree
You can’t expect for every argument to end with results that both sides will be happy with. However, in order to avoid escalating the conflict you should try to end it before things heat up. It takes at least two people to start a conflict, and if you feel that the participant is very hostile or that the conversation is not going anywhere, you should try to separate from the argument.
We hope you will use these tips next time you have an argument and that you will be able to resolve any issues much easier without unnecessary conflicts. Being constantly stressed and angry can have serious negative effects on our health so it is always a better idea to protect yourself from the negativity. Even though you may lose your temper and act in a manner you will never be proud of, you can at least try to calm yourself down in order to avoid making mistakes you are going to regret.