Have you ever been in an argument with someone and you find them constantly making you flare up and throw harsh words at them? Some people are quite good at inciting one to violence or lose their calm. What they gain from doing that is what I can’t clearly understand.
Arguments are common aspects of our lives as individuals and they do not necessarily have to result in a conflict. The point of an argument is to put down your points as politely as possible. However, emotions easily creep into most arguments, turning them into heated conflicts.
When you are caught in a heated argument, staying calm will prove your maturity, and help you prevent physical fights or escalated conflicts. It will also ensure that your minor disagreement does not bring issues into the blissful relationship you share with the other person.
While it may look easier to do, staying calm during a heated argument is not so easy. It takes deliberate actions to stay collected when you are being bombarded by someone who is all out to rip you apart.
The following tips will help you stay calm during a heated argument.
The number #1 way to stay in control of your anger is to understand it. Being mindful of yourself and why you are angry can put you in a position of control over your anger.
Remember, anger is an instinctive response to unpleasant situations around us. That means, it is a natural response when we perceive something as a threat or unpleasant without us being in so much control of it.
Though anger is instinctive, you can develop your sense of control over it by understanding the reasons why you get angry and by always reflecting on how you want people to see you.
Anger makes you lose control of yourself. To stay calm during a heated argument, you must be mindful of yourself and how you want people to see you. This requires deep consciousness even in the heat of the argument.
2. Practice breathing techniques
Anger during an argument increases your heart rate, your pupils dilate, and your breathing becomes faster. This is due to the release of fight-mode hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Taking slow, deep breaths helps calm your nervous system by stimulating your vagus nerve to trigger your relaxation mode, as opposed to your fight or flight mode.
Slow, deep breathing while focusing on your breath and allowing it to slow your heart rate is a simple breathing technique to provide immediate relief when in a heated argument.
Breathing techniques also improve mindfulness and your consciousness as described in the first point above. They help you think more clearly and be able to temporarily isolate yourself from the situation of the moment.
3. Be empathic and understanding
Staying calm during a heated argument also requires you to be empathic. Sometimes, taking time to understand why the other person is getting heated up might make you see reasons to stay calm while they vent off themselves.
For example, someone might be arguing from the standpoint of personal ideology and self-idiosyncrasy. In that, refuting their ideas might mean undermining the core principle behind their entire performance and existence.
In cases when an argument centers on a person’s core beliefs, you might need to stop the argument and calm down for them to have cool.
4. Find something to laugh at
Laughter has a way of calming down the nerves, and the reason is not far-fetched. Laughter has been shown to trigger the release of the happy hormones, dopamine and serotonin. That means, even if you were not feeling happy ab initio, faking a laugh or smile can make you happier.
Even during a heated argument, some things can still bring you laughter. Thankfully, there is a lot of comedy around us today. Instead of confronting your partner in an argument filled with violence, consider picking up your smartphone to watch funny videos that bring you laughter.
5. Walk away as soon as you can
When the argument is getting beyond your control, you know it is time to consider walking away from the scene. Staying longer in the argument when it’s already getting to your nerves might make you take actions you’d later regret taking.
You know when you are getting heated up. But that is not the time to stay and show what you can do. Being unwilling to leave will make you do or say things you never should have said. So, it’s best to walk away while you are still yourself.
6. Use “I” statements
Expressing your feelings and thoughts using “I” statements will make you and your partner stay calm during an argument. Even when the argument is getting heated up, “I” statements can help cool down the temperature.
Unlike “you” statements, “I” statements are less accusatory and prevent the other person from becoming defensive and violent.
For example, instead of saying “You are always very annoying when you start talking like this”, say “I feel annoyed when you start talking like this”. The “I” is less accusatory and confrontational, preventing the argument from becoming more intense.
What Makes An Argument Get Heated Up
If you have ever been in a calm argument that later transitioned into a heated one, you will wonder what made it heat up so smoothly. Sometimes, you can’t tell the exact moment the anger starts pouring in.
Understanding why an argument gets heated up will help you know how to keep the argument calm without any need for violent and harsh exchanges. Different things are capable of escalating a calm argument, and these are some things I will show you in this section.
1. Lack of active listening
Not paying attention to details when someone is talking might make you miss out on the important points they are trying to make. When you or the other person feel that they are not being understood, it can lead to the escalation of emotions in the supposedly peaceful argument.
It is important to listen attentively to someone when in an argument with them. This is to avoid every misunderstanding or misinterpretation of their words or gestures, which can escalate emotions in the argument.
When one or both partners in an argument become defensive, it can lead to escalation of emotions and get the argument heated up. Defensiveness results from feeling attacked and criticized, making it difficult to have a constructive conversation.
3. Bringing up past issues
Revisiting past issues during an argument can intensify the emotions and turn the argument into a heated one. Doing so shifts the focus from the present disagreement to a broader history of disagreements or conflicts.
Another reason why bringing up past issues stirs up emotions is that the other partner might feel that you have been nurturing these feelings all the while, and might link it to all your actions towards them since then.
4. Focusing on being superior
Arguments are meant to convey our views to the other person in a convincing way while listening to their view if it weighs more than ours. A peaceful argument is one where the partners respectfully present their points without forcing their opinions on the other.
Sometimes, you can be in an argument with someone who wants to prove superiority in the argument. They emphasize your flaws instead of proving their point respectfully. This can lead to escalation of emotions, thus, heating the argument.
5. Power struggle
Arguments can heat up when there’s a perceived power struggle or a desire to control the narrative. When individuals feel that their autonomy is being threatened in the argument, they may become more defensive and confronting.
6. Lack of empathy
Lack of empathy or understanding of the other person’s perspective can escalate an argument. Empathy is crucial for maintaining a peaceful tone in an argument because it makes you say and infer things that are in line with what the other person is thinking.
Lack of empathy makes the other person feel misunderstood, and there is nothing more notorious in escalating a conflict than when a person feels you are saying or inferring things they did not mean.
Staying calm during a heated argument can be a hard thing to do. Sometimes, it’s best to walk away if you don’t want to get tensed to act in ways you would otherwise not want.
The above tips will be helpful to keep you calm when you are in a heated argument with anyone.
Lastly, it is important to know the major factors that escalate a peaceful argument into a heated one. Knowing these will help you maintain a calm argument all through so that everyone feels heard and understood without any need to escalate emotions.
I am a medical doctor, a seasoned writer and passionate blogger. Thanks to many years of trials, failure, and near successes. I am the founder of Knowseeker and our content are geared towards enlightening and making you a better and happier audience.