How to Control Your Emotions During a Difficult Conversation
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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. None of this puts you in the right frame of mind to resolve a conflict. Luckily, it’s possible to interrupt this physical response to clear the way for a productive discussion. Start by taking a deep breath and focusing on your body. Repeat a mantra to yourself such as “This isn’t about me,” “This will pass,” or “This is about the business.” And try to distance yourself from the negative emotion you’re feeling by labeling it: “He is so wrong about that and it’s making me mad becomes I’m having the thought that my coworker is wrong, and I’m feeling anger.” And don’t forget the value of taking a break. The more time you give yourself to process your emotions, the less intense they are likely to be.

Amy Gallo