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The holidays are coming up, and I know two things for certain: (1) My aunt will re-gift me an old book and pretend she bought it for me, and (2) someone will start an argument at the big family dinner. It’s usually good-natured bickering, but now and then, it gets heated—and sometimes I get pulled in. Even though we love each other, we can end up saying angry or hurtful things, and it takes time for everyone to calm down. Maybe you’ve been in a situation like that before.

When we find ourselves getting upset with someone, we have two choices. We could cut loose and vent our emotions, which is tempting and might feel satisfying at the time. But those feelings of relief won’t last long. In the end, you might hurt people’s feelings and deepen the conflict.

OK, so maybe we really have only one choice, or at least one good one—we can apply strategies to calm down, see our emotions clearly, and respond rather than react. As the great psychiatrist Victor Frankl wrote, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is the power to choose our response.”

In the video below, I share one method for calming down in the midst of a conflict. Give it a watch, then give it a try. Happy holidays.

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Article sources

Hamilton, D. M. (2015, December 22). Calming your brain during conflict. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from