By Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D
When someone gets their knickers in a twist and blows up, how do you handle it? If your current way of dealing with emotional fireworks isn’t working, here are ten tips to help you the next time one happens.
- Start by staying calm. Keep yourself from getting sucked into the emotional vortex. Asking yourself, “What is the best thing to do right now?” can help you gain some perspective and keep your own emotions in check.
- Try to understand what’s going on for the other person. When you understand, you are more equipped to respond in an empathetic manner. When people feel that someone really knows what they are going through, it helps them; they don’t feel so alone and scared.
- Let the other person vent. If someone has a whole bunch of hurt, pain, or anger he or she needs to release, it has to come out, and that can be a difficult thing to experience. Let the other person get out their negative feelings, but don’t become a punching bag.
- Look for something positive. There is another side to every upset, but finding it can be a challenge. Taking a few minutes to encourage the person to focus on what is and isn’t working can be very helpful and will discharge a bunch of discomfort.
- Be open to suggestions. When feelings get heated, it can be helpful if another person (family member or friend) gives his or her input. Sometimes a fresh set of ears can hear things others can’t.
- Create a plan. Having some options you have thought about in advance can be incredibly helpful when strong emotions are flying around the room. For example, you can choose to take a time-out or just remain silent. You can also choose to give the other person some direction.
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