Cooling your emotions is not an easy process when you’re fighting with your partner.
In our previous blog post, we talked about the beginning steps of calming down when anger takes over your ability to work through a couple’s conflict.
It starts with recognizing your feelings, then asking your partner for a few minutes to calm down and reset. This can help both of you have a more productive conversation.
There are three ways to help yourself cool down:
- Calming Your Emotional Brain
- “Changing the Channel”
- Adjusting Your Perspective
We’ve already covered Calming Your Emotional Brain, so let’s continue our discussion by talking about ways to “Change the Channel.”
Changing the Channel
Think of your anger and frustration as a scab that is trying to heal. The more you poke and prod it, the longer it will take to heal. Simply leaving it alone and letting your body do the work will help it go away on its own.
How do you do this? By taking some time to distract your mind from your frustrations. Do something that will help you unwind or even make you laugh.
Exercise, like doing yoga or taking a bike ride, can also help you alleviate stress and practice mindfulness. Sometimes, stress manifests itself in tense muscles or an energy that you need to release. A run or a few minutes of stretching will help you release that tension in a healthy way.
Our favorite suggestion is to do a chore around the house to calm down. The repetitive motion of folding laundry or vacuuming not only works to soothe your nerves – it also helps your partner out around the house.
Adjusting Your Perspective
Our final “trick” is to adjust your perspective.
In our last blog post, we talked about how anger tells you negative things. These statements inhibit your ability to have a calm, loving conversation with your partner. In order to come back to that loving conversation, you may have to shift your perspective.
Question the things that anger is telling you:
- When anger tells you that you are annoyed with your partner, ask, “What do I love about my partner?”
- When anger tells you this is a pointless argument, ask, “What would a win-win situation look like?”
- As you reflect on your anger, ask, “What else could be causing me stress today? Are these issues the real cause of my anger and frustration?”
Keep a journal that helps you answer these questions and look at your anger from a different point of view.
When Anger Causes Relationship Problems, Reach Out
Telling yourself the opposite of what your anger is telling you requires a lot of work. It can’t always be done overnight!
For more information on how to calm down and get into the right mindset to come up with a couple’s agreement, talk to Oregon relationship therapists Tim Higdon and Norene Gonsiewski.