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How to Control Your Emotions During a Difficult Conversation

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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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