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How To Stop Arguments? 5 Emotional Self-Regulation Skills For Constructive Arguments

Emotional Skills For Constructive Arguments

3. Learn strategies for quick self-calming.

Old-fashioned techniques of taking deep breaths or counting to 10 can be remarkably helpful. Distraction by briefly reading a magazine, talking with others, watering your plants, or doing any activity you enjoy also can bring a return of emotional calm.

Temporal tapping, which I described in an earlier post, offers an additional quick and easy technique to add to your repertoire.

To use self-calming techniques most effectively:

  • Initiate a pause/exit early on, when the anger is barely evident.
  • Initiate pauses whether you are the person becoming angry, or the potential receiver.
  • During the pause, allow yourself to do zero thinking about what the other person did that provoked your anger. Focus instead on something—anything—else.

Related: 10 Tips For Constructive Arguments With Your Loved One

4. Remember that there are two of you, each with valid concerns.

Anger invites narcissism, that is, hyper-awareness of what you want to the exclusion of listening to the concerns of the person you are angry at. As a friend of mine once said, “When I am angry, what I want becomes holy. What the other person wants becomes irrelevant.”

Dismissing the other person’s point of view becomes all the more likely if you succumb to the belief “I’m right, You’re wrong.” That belief escalates anger and exacerbates the inability to listen.

Once you feel calmer, remind yourself that “There are two of us here.” Then ask yourself:

  • What do I want? What will be a better way than using anger to get what I want?
  • What does the other person want? What are his or her concerns? How can I help them as well?
How To Stop Arguments? 5 Emotional Self-Regulation Skills For Constructive Arguments
How To Stop Arguments? 5 Emotional Self-Regulation Skills For Constructive Arguments

5. Learn the “win-win waltz.”

In win-win problem-solving, the eventual plan of action is responsive to both people’s concerns.

The payoffs for ceasing to argue or even to speak a sentence or two in an irritated voice?

The result can be a home in which all family members feel safe. In a fight-free home, there’s no arguing, no angry interchanges, no hurtful voices. If you use these techniques with everyone, especially with family members and including children, you will be likely to receive fewer annoyed or angry voices directed to you as well.

Dealing with difficult situations only from a calm emotional state can be life-changing. Life becomes less stressful. You will become more effective at getting what you want—and more able to enjoy your one-and-only life. Sound appealing?


Written By Susan Heitler 
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today 
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How To Stop Arguments? 5 Emotional Self-Regulation Skills For Constructive Arguments
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Susan Heitler Ph.D.

Susan Heitler is a Denver clinical psychologist and widely-read author. Educated at Harvard and NYU, Susan Heitler offers self-help information for individuals and for couples. She also writes for therapists, offering new understandings and treatments for anxiety, anger, depression, narcissism, and relationship challenges. Dr. Heitler’s office also serves as a center for the evaluation and treatment of parental alienation. She and her husband of more than 45 years are proud parents of four happily married adult children and grateful grandparents of fifteen grandchildren.View Author posts