How to Remain Calm During a Heated Conversation

It can be hard not to raise your voice when you have difficulty getting your point across. For this reason, a clinical psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Antonia Chronopoulos, gives tips on maintaining control in a tense situation.

Reasons for yelling when a conversation becomes tense

Finding out why you shout is the first step towards fixing the problem. You could be yelling because you don’t feel heard. Your brain takes this as an offense, and your limbic system responds in a manner that suggests you are in a flight or fight situation.

As a result, your muscles tense, breathing is shallow, and blood pressure goes up. Moreover, your body produces more adrenaline which losers your attention and stops you from thinking clearly. Your body gives you the impression that you can only respond to your situation by fighting or running.

When you decide to fight, you might yell, which angers the other party resulting in a screaming match. However, choosing to stay quiet is also not the best solution. Instead, the same physical changes occur. Moreover, holding your anger in prevents you from seeking middle ground with the other person.

How to avoid yelling

While finding a solution between yelling and staying quiet is essential, it can be challenging to implement. Nevertheless, you could always try walking away when triggered, taking a deep breath to calm yourself, and pausing the discussion. It is essential to practice these strategies as it is challenging to remain calm in a heated conversation.

Self-awareness is the key to striking a balance. Therefore, you need to take note of the number of times you get angry in a week, the cause for your anger, and just how angry you got. In addition, look at the location, topics, and people as these could have led to your outburst. You should also consider if you were hungry or tired during the argument, as your mood could affect your reaction to things.

Chronopoulos also suggests discrimination training to relax your muscles when you feel calm. Doing this will help you tell the difference if you become tense. In addition, you could try to focus on your breathing as it will draw attention away from your stressor.

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