I have a question about personal development. I have a problem with staying calm when I’m confronted with a situation where a conversation is heated. How do I stay in complete control of my mind and my emotions and what can I think about in situations like that?
Oamaru, New Zealand
It is likely the reason you flee, avoid or panic in heated conversations has its roots in a repeated or traumatic response you received in your formative years. Perhaps someone was verbally abusive to you, punished you severely or undermined your confidence when you verbally stood your ground. In that case, you would have learned that it was easier to back down and zip up than to express yourself. Now that you are grown, automatic submission in the face of conflict is in accordance to the conditioned response you learned, but it denies you the simple liberty to your opinion and, as you sensed, your personal development in the process.
You can learn to express yourself peaceably, rationally, effectively and with intelligence and diplomacy Use these steps when uneasiness, nervousness, panic, or fear arises in the face of conflict.
· Momentarily focus on breathing deeply, slowly and continuously to elongate brainwaves to a calm pattern. Do not hold your breath.
· Tune into where rising negative emotions are lodged in the body. Mentally breathe into that place, to help break up the blockage of energy there.
· Feel the ground firmly under your feet and sense its support.
· Additionally, hold the areas of the middle chest and throat in an upright yet relaxed posture.
· Speak slowly. Make your point clearly and succinctly.
· Keep voice steady using low volume and deep pitch.
· Maintain direct eye contact. Resist the tendency to blink a lot or contort your face.
· Assert yourself, yet respect your adversary, listening carefully to his reservations.
· Offer a very, very specific solution with resolution date that respects both your needs.
· Put even the simplest agreement in writing by following up with a letter or email, whose neutral tone states the agreement in few words as possible. Ask for a returned signed copy or email reply that acknowledges intent.
· Repeat all steps if necessary.
Seeking justice is time-consuming and will steep you in anger. If you cannot agree, contemplate how important the issue is to you. If it remains important seek the help of a friend or a higher authority such as a supervisor or court. Consider that you might create more joy in your life by cutting your losses and moving on so your time is free for something actually like to do.
Edward, realize that disagreements are not intrinsically negative. It’s only your emotional reaction to them that feels that way now. If you are willing to look for it, you’ll find there is a silver lining in every cloud. Find it and act upon it. Finally, release any attachment you have to winning. What seems like a negative result now, could easily be the door to your undiscovered joy. What do you say you start with small things and let me know how it goes?
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