How to Regulate Yourself During Difficult Conversations

Regulating your emotions, being an active listener and knowing how to stay calm is not easy especially when those conversations are a bit difficult.


During hard conversations, it’s common for many people to become triggered by something that was said. Calm one moment, but the next they’re thrown into “fight or flight” mode, their brain sensing danger. Before they know it, the most primitive part of their brain is activated in an effort to help them survive. And this is when things can get ugly. Because it’s fairly impossible to speak calmly and rationally when your entire body is in survival mode.


Luckily there are things we can do during difficult conversations to regulate our emotional responses and keep ourselves calm and level-headed.


Pause and Breathe


As soon as you start to feel triggered, pause and take a few slow, deep breaths. While deep breathing may seem like a cliche, it is actually a very powerful tool that helps us get out of “fight or flight” mode and into a more relaxed state. When we breathe slowly and deeply, it sends a signal to our brain that we are out of danger.


Use Your Senses


Another effective way to regulate your emotions in the moment is to focus your attention on a physical sensation. You could take a sip of water and really feel the sensation of drinking, or you could run your fingers along the seam of the sofa cushion.


Listen Fully


It is so common in a conversation to listen to form a response. But when we do this it is far easier to misunderstand what the other person is really saying. Be sure to listen to understand, not to form a response.


Difficult conversations are inevitable when you are in any kind of relationship. But if you use these tips to regulate yourself, you can remain calm and communicate effectively.


If you feel you have tried these things and need more support therapy can help you uncover unhealthy thinking patterns that may be keeping you stuck.  Allowing ourselves to understanding and feel our more difficult emotions can help us to better understand why we are triggered and encourage healing to occur.




How to Self-Regulate During a Difficult Conversation

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