How Can I Stop Losing My Temper In Arguments?

According to a 17-year study at the University of Michigan, couples who report regular feelings of stress and anger actually shorten their lifespan! In addition, anger is linked to higher rate of heart attack, stroke, increased general anxiety, and depression. So in the interest of avoiding... all of that... this is how you can learn to rein in your anger, express yourself calmly, and yes - elongate your life span.

Step 1.

Focus on what your partner is really trying to say.


accept

Admit it, most of us spend the time we’re not talking in an argument figuring out what we’re going to say next. But that’s how we get in hot water. What is the content of what your partner is trying to say? (Don’t worry so much about the context.)

Step 2.

Use inside voices.


inside

If you’re interested in alienating yourself, pissing off your partner, and not getting your point across - yelling is 100% the answer. If you, like us, are more interested in diffusing and problem-solving… do your absolute darndest to keep a regular volume (even if you do it through gritted teeth).

Step 3.

Breathe.


breathe

This is the crucial one - and with everything else that’s usually going on during an argument - it’s also the one we usually let fall through the cracks. But BREATH is actually the key to unlocking a logical perspective and a clear mind. And you can use it to de-weaponize particularly heated situations. How? When you feel yourself getting wound up - before you respond - take 10 seconds just to breathe. (Not, like, deep angry breaths the way a bull looks at a matador, but a pause in conversation to inhale deeply through your nose. Just 10 seconds! And it could save you hours of trouble and years of your life.)

Here’s an example of one of our Relishers in an argument. We’ll have you guess which one is the RIGHT way…

R = Relisher P = Partner

P: "Hey, I just got an email about my alumni event. It’s happening Saturday, last weekend of the month."
R: "Wait what? That weekend is our daughter’s birthday party!"
P: "Oh, shoot it is! But it’s on Sunday, right? I could definitely make it back!"
R: "Um, ok, so I’ll just do all the planning and scheduling and prepping and cooking and baking and organizin-"
P: "Hang on, hang on. You don’t need to fly off the handle."
R: "FLY OFF THE HANDLE??"
P: "That’s not what I mean. I’m just saying I think I could do both - AND help you get ready so it’s not all on your shoulders."
R: "Where is this even coming from anyway? I’ve literally never heard you bring this up before - this can’t be the first time they’re having one."
P: "It’s our 30th! It’s a big one!"
R: "Ok fine whatever honestly you should just go I’ll do everything, like usual."
P: "Wait… what did you just say?"
R: "I SAID I’ll do everything like I always do and you can swoop in later and be the star. It’s perfect. You should definitely go."
P: "This is so unfair."
R: Door slam

So let’s just call this one “Losing Your Sh*t In An Argument.” Here’s the other way this could have gone…

P: "Hey, I just got an email about my alumni event. It’s happening Saturday, last weekend of the month."
R: (Breathe before reacting) "Hang on a sec, that’s the weekend of the party!"
P: "Oh, wow I completely forgot! But it’s on Sunday, right? I could definitely make it back in time."
R: (Focus on what they’re saying) "Oh really? Wait, what time is the event? And where is it?"
P: "It’s at 6 at the Hilton downtown. A bunch of the guys are getting a room but I’ll just drive back afterwards."
R: (Using inside voice) "I mean I don’t want you to sacrifice your reunion, but it would be really helpful. I guess I didn’t know you cared, you’ve never showed interest in these things before."
P: "Yeah, I’m usually not… I mean who wants to go to an all-boys reunion? Ha! But it’s the 30th and I feel like it would mean a lot if I showed up."
R: "Okay great. Well thanks for that, It’d be great if you were here the night before to help me prep."
P: "Of course! Her party isn’t on your shoulders! Can’t wait."

self five

Exhibit A… Exhibit B. Exhibit A…. Exhibit B. Tough choice. But in all seriousness, breath + inside voices + hearing the content = happy relationship. Conflict is going to happen. There’s no way around it. But you can diffuse the situation quickly and effectively so conflict doesn’t turn into combat.

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