It doesn’t matter if you are short-tempered or patient, sometimes or the other all of us are bound to find ourselves in the middle of an argument. Whether it is with our friends, family, coworkers, or even strangers, our anger can cause us to do or say things that we might not mean at all. It can cause us to act irrationally and blurt out something we will regret later. So, what should you do if you find yourself in a similar situation and need to calm down? Here are a few anger management tips that will let you cool yourself down:
Try to Listen to The Other Person
It can be difficult to do this when all your attention is on the accusations and curse words the other person might be throwing on you. But try to take a deep breath, step back for a while and try to understand what the person is saying. Don’t just listen to their words but the bigger picture behind it and what they are trying to get at. Try to look at the situation from their point of view. This will help you to calm down and be reasonable about the problem.
Do Not Shout or Raise Your Voice
The tone of your voice can make all the difference in an argument. According to Barton Goldsmith, an expert in emotional fitness, who also writes Psychology Today, major issues can be resolved in a whisper and even a simple problem can become a huge problem if one decides to raise one’s voice. He counseled couples who yelled at each other to argue with each other using a softer tone and that helped reduce the anger issues in their relationships.
Take Deep Breaths
We all know that breathing is one of the most common and effective solutions for a lot of problems like anxiety attacks, depression, and panic attacks. It is also effective in anger management. Whenever you find yourself getting angry during an argument, clear your mind out for a moment and try taking slow and deep breaths. This exercise activates your hypothalamus which then sends out neurohormones that inhibit the stress-producing hormones. This action generates a relaxation response in your body.
Leave the Room and Take Some Space
If you feel like things are getting too heated up, you might want to leave the room and go for a breath of fresh air. Staying in the room will only cause you and the others more harm. Moreover, sometimes pausing an argument is the best choice. Taking some time off can help cool off the steam and help you look at things from a new perspective. According to experts like Susan Heitler, the leader of a well-known relationship program, it is advised to leave the argument when your anger is at level three on a scale of 1-10. This is because after you cross, you become more adamant about proving your point and this will just make things worse.
Asking Open-Ended Questions
Open-ended questions are those which cannot be answered with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. These questions require longer responses. Such questions are important to solve conflicts or arguments because firstly, it shows the other person that you are actively listening to them. Secondly, these questions help you understand their perspective which may ultimately calm you down. However, learning to ask these questions can be a bit difficult for some people. Here are a few tips – instead of asking questions using the words ‘do’, ‘don’t’, ‘did’ or ‘didn’t’, try using the words ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘how’ or ‘who’.
Agree to Disagree
Not every argument will have just one perspective or a unanimous solution. There are some points in an argument where you will have to come to a neutral standpoint. Not everything will always go according to what we desire so we must start learning to respect others’ wishes and desires. They might be right in their way and you in yours.
Don’t Bring Out Other Issues
Focus on why the argument happened at that moment. Do not bring up older problems or something you haven’t talked to them about yet. Do it some other time. Arguing over multiple issues simultaneously will decrease your chances of remaining calm and cause your brain to overload. Deal with only one issue at a time. Also, in the future, stop piling your emotions causing them to spill all at once. This will lead to bigger issues such as communication problems and other misunderstandings.
Talk to Your Inner Child
According to leading psychologist Dr. Margaret Paul, sometimes we might be angry at someone else because we expect them to do things that we should have done for ourselves. In situations like these, it is important that we try talking to our inner child and figure out what’s wrong and try to be nicer to ourselves. Paul tells us to imagine that the angry part of you is like a child throwing a tantrum because it is really in need of kindness and compassion. You should ask yourself what hurt you and if you are ignoring some bigger issue like heartbreak or loneliness by using anger as a coping mechanism.
Try to Identify Signs
If you feel like you are leading to a situation that can lead to anger and make things nasty, try to identify the signs that may make you feel like that. For instance, try to notice if your tone is changing or if your body is getting tense. Identifying these signs can help you take a break from the source and help you understand the problem and deal with it differently.
If you have a lot of anger issues and feel that it takes a lot of effort to calm yourself down at the moment, then it’s important that your practice long-term exercises. Being mindful means completely aware of what you are feeling and sensing at the moment. This state can be achieved through meditation, breathing methods, and other practices to help reduce stress and relax.
Understandably, it might be difficult to do these things in the middle of an argument, but taking a step back and practicing these methods can help you control your anger over time. After all, practice makes you perfect!