You just had an argument with your significant other and it seems as though the two of you cannot come to an agreement. Feeling angry, you isolate yourself in your bedroom, close the door and pull the covers over your head. I'm sure we can all relate to this scenario. In this moment, all you want to do is fight, scream, shout, curse and insult. However, after you have given yourself a moment to think, you realize this reaction will not get you the result you wish to create. What do you do next?
I had a moment just like this not too long ago. My fiancé and I were talking about the type of wedding cake we each wanted and the discussion escalated to a full-blown argument quickly. I retreated to my bedroom, with tear filled eyes, wanting to hurl insults at him. Instead, I took a deep breathe. Ok, I took several deep breaths. During that time, I realized that I would rather create a peaceful, loving moment than go to bed angry. After deep breathing, I briefly thought of three things I was grateful for. Then, I organized my thoughts and figured out what I wanted to say to my fiancé. I climbed out of bed, opened the door, and communicated my thoughts and feelings, clearly, to my fiancé. A few moments passed and asked I for a hug. We spent the night happily chatting and watching a movie.
There were four key things that I did to shift from anger to peace. I took deep breaths, expressed gratitude, communicated clearly, and reconnected with my fiancé. All four steps are equally important and it is most effective when all are used. Here is what you can do the next time you are in an argument with your significant other and want to go from anger to peace:
Breathing is an extremely important bodily function that we often overlook as an important tool for emotional management. When you take several deep breaths, you are allowing energizing and cleansing oxygen to enter your lungs, blood stream, brain, muscles and all other parts of your body. Deep breathing also allows your body to relax and you have the opportunity to pause, and reflect. A deep breath turns a reaction into a response by allowing you to slow down your thoughts and actions.
2) Express Gratitude:
One of the easiest ways to shift your mood from angry to peaceful is to express gratitude. The gratitude you express does not have to be related to the argument or the person you are arguing with but it does have to be sincere. It can be expressed out loud or silently. When you focus your thoughts and energy on what you are grateful for, the amount of time you spend angry is reduced and you will create a more peaceful and loving experience. Try to think of at least 3 things you are grateful for.
3) Communicate Clearly:
Make eye contact when you speak to your partner and use a calm tone. If you feel that you are becoming emotional and have trouble speaking clearly, take a break, or write down what you would like to express and read it aloud. This is not the time to try to persuade your partner to see things from your point of view and nor is it the time for you try to win the argument. There is no room for either of those when you are communicating in a loving and peaceful way. Instead, communicate what parts of the argument triggered your emotional response, without blaming. Also, seek to understand your partner before being understood. Depending on the disagreement, there may need to be more than one conversation. Hopefully, you and your partner can recognize if/when to table a conversation for a later time.
After you both feel that you are complete with the conversation, reconnect with each other. This can be done by saying "I love you," holding hands, hugging, kissing, making love, and/or expressing gratitude for one another. I think it is important for couples to reconnect physically, in some way, after an argument. It's reassuring when you can reach out to your partner for physical comfort after a conflict. If you are expressing gratitude to your partner or saying "I love you," be sure to have full eye contact.
These steps may not feel natural or effortless the first time you try. You may need to practice a few times. Communicate the steps to your partner so he/she can use them as well!
Love, peace, light