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How to Control Your Emotions During a Difficult Conversation

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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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Control Your Emotions During a Difficult Conversation

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

6

Key Ideas

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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Gain Control Over Your Mood

  • Label Your Emotions: There are times that you might feel different emotions. Pay attention to what's really going on inside you to help you take a lot of sting out of that em...

Mood Control = Positive Outlook

Emotions are powerful and managing it is tough at times. But by gaining control over them makes you mentally stronger.

You'll gain confidence in your ability to handle discomfort while also knowing that you can make healthy choices that shift your mood.

Begin from a place of curiosity

Lean into the conversation from a place of curiosity and respect (for yourself and the other person). 

Even when the subject of the conversation is difficult, the interaction can ...

Listen and observe

Focus on what you’re hearing, not what you’re saying. Genuine attention and neutrality encourage people to elaborate.

You don’t actually need to talk that much during a difficult conversation. Instead, learn to listen, reflect and observe.

Be direct

Address uncomfortable situations head-on by getting right to the point.

Foster an honest and respectful discussion and make sure both parties speak about the details of an issue. 

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