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How to Control Your Emotions During a Difficult Conversation

https://hbr.org/2017/12/how-to-control-your-emotions-during-a-difficult-conversation

hbr.org

How to Control Your Emotions During a Difficult Conversation
Executive Summary It's hard not to get worked up emotionally when you're in a tense conversation. After all, a disagreement can feel like a threat. Your heart rate and breathing rate spike, your muscles tighten, the blood in your body moves away from your organs, and you're likely to feel uncomfortable.

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Emotions During a Difficult Conversation

It’s hard not to get worked up emotionally when you’re in a tense conversation: a disagreement can feel like a threat.

But if your body goes into “fight or flight” mode,  you may lose access to the part of your brain responsible for rational thinking.

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Breathe

When you start noticing yourself getting tense, try to focus on breathing (on feeling the air coming in and out of your lungs).

This will take your attention off the physical signs of panic and keep you centered.

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Focus on your body

Sitting still when you’re having a difficult conversation can make the emotions build up rather than dissipate. 

Standing up and walking around helps to activate the thinking part of your brain.

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Try saying a mantra

Come up with a phrase that you can repeat to yourself to remind you to stay calm.

Some examples: “This isn’t about me,” “This will pass,” or “This is about the business.”

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Acknowledge your feelings

To distance yourself from the feeling, label it.

This allows you to see your thoughts and feelings for what they are, and not bury them or let them explode.

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Take a break

The more time you give yourself to process your emotions, the less intense they are likely to be.

Excuse yourself for a moment: get a cup of coffee or a glass of water, go to the bathroom or take a stroll. Don't give the impression that you are desperately trying to escape.

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Emotional clarity

It means that we have a good understanding of how we feel emotionally. 

Label your emotions

Use plain language. The more fluent you are with real emotional language, the more clearly you will be able to think about how you’re feeling.

Clarify your emotions

Get used to the idea of emotional complexity. When we feel upset, we're not feeling one single emotion. We are usually experiencing a blend of many emotions.

Training ourselves to look for and see this emotional complexity is key to better understanding ourselves when we’re upset and moving on in a healthy way.

Don't Avoid Conflict

  • We tend to avoid conflict because we believe that it is bad, yet we continue to create it despite the fact.
  • Conflict isn't essentially a bad thing. It gives us the information we need to know so that we could work with others more effectively to improve our relationships with them and to grow as individuals.
  • In every conflict resolution phase, we must aim for: a solution, a plan, or an understanding.

Gem Statement

A gem statement is a statement that allows the opportunity to open up a new conversation with the hopes of compromisation and a solution.

This usually involves expressing your emotions with the main issue beneath all the surface anger or any other emotion being experienced while having a positive impact on the other.