An Argument and the Art of Keeping Your Cool During It

· September 16, 2017
To keep an argument from bringing out the worst in you, you have to know yourself well and learn to control your emotions.

Surely you can remember a time where you were in an argument and lost your cool. Your emotions got the better of you, and you weren’t able to effectively and constructively defend your point.

Knowing how to argue—if there’s no other option—isn’t easy. It’s not something you’re taught.

Unfortunately, however, there are times in your personal or professional life where there’s no other option than to start these tense, complicated dialogues.

However, if you learn how to argue well with control and intelligence and without losing your cool, you can keep your mind clear and ready to truly express yourself.

Today, we’d like to propose 5 strategies to help you control your emotions as much as possible during an argument.

“It is impossible to argue with the ignorant.”

-Immanuel Kant-

Five Tips to Keep Your Cool During an Argument

1. Know the Person in Front of You, but Most of All, Know Yourself

You can keep your cool during an argument if you learn how to control your emotions.

Knowing others is wisdom, but knowing yourself is enlightenment.

But why do you need to know yourself in order to argue well?

  • To keep your cool, you must use your inner strength, security and self-esteem.
  • The other person may fall into the error of saying things like “you don’t know what you’re talking about” or even “your ego is too big.” However, these remarks can’t affect you if you already know who you are. Therefore, that which isn’t true can’t hurt you.

To come out on top in an argument, you should also know the other person’s weak points. Knowing, for example, that the person in front of you has low self-esteem or projects his/her insecurity into aggressiveness will help you stay relaxed and sure of yourself.

Knowing how to connect with yourself and with the person in front of you will give you more control over the situation.

Learn about: 5 Ways to Fight Emotional Emptiness

2. Turn Off Your Negative Emotions When Having an Argument

If you want to keep your cool in an argument, then you must learn to control the negative motions you may be feeling, such as:

  • Anger
  • Pride
  • Resentment
  • Rage
  • Anxiety

All of these put you on the defensive, with your “nails” out.

There comes a time when you get yourself in “attack mode,” and that’s when you lose control, stop arguing logically and reduce yourself to accusations that lead nowhere.

To take back the reins in situations like this, do the following:

  • Visualize yourself from the outside. Imagine you’re looking at the argument from the outside, calmly and peacefully. Nobody can hurt you there. You’re safe to simply embrace yourself.
  • Now, think about what you can make to get this situation going somewhere.

3. Don’t Answer Right Away

To keep your cool during an argument, think before responding.

When arguments aren’t going anywhere and neither of the two parties is listening to each other, then it won’t take long for them to start exchanging ugly words and nonconstructive criticism. Sooner or later, they’ll say things they’ll regret afterward.

What’s the point of behaving like this? There’s no point, of course.

The following suggestions can help you take your time before responding so that the argument can be productive and you keep your cool:

  • Listen carefully to what the other person is saying. Analyze it.
  • Watch how it impacts you, and then carefully think of your response.
  • Remember that you shouldn’t answer in a way that increases tension.

If you see that the argument isn’t going anywhere but is just an excuse to hurt each other and let your negative emotions out, end it.

Don’t forget that some arguments aren’t worth having.

4. Breathe Deeply

When you’re alert and in the middle of an argument, your brain interprets it almost as if it were a threat.

That’s when it sets off a series of bodily responses:

  • Your heart races.
  • You start shaking.
  • Your breathing gets shallow.
  • Your mouth gets dry.

To keep your cool in an argument, there’s nothing better than controlling your breathing.

A good way to do that is to inhale deeply and exhale slowly.

A calm mind reasons better.

We recommend also reading: 5 Effective Breathing Techniques for Insomnia

5. Train Your Inner Peace: Get Ready for Daily Life Challenges

meditation

Being prepared inside will help us face the challenges that come up outside.

To do that, practicing the following exercises can be very helpful:

  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Exercise.
  • Channel your emotions through art: Writing, dancing and painting are just some examples.
  • Cultivate your inside: Nourish your self-confidence and self-esteem; work on your values as well.
  • Practice active, assertive dialogue.
  • Increase your vocabulary.
  • Work on your logic.
  • Practice strategies that you can use in all kinds of conversations and that’ll help you feel sure of yourself and relaxed.

Overall, don’t delay putting these simple tips into action. We’re sure that the next time you have an argument with someone because there’s no choice, you’ll face it more effectively and competently.

  • Wilkinson, R. A., & Chilton, G. (2013). Positive art therapy: Linking positive psychology to art therapy theory, practice, and research. Art Therapy. https://doi.org/10.1080/07421656.2013.757513
  • Yeo, J. (2015). Shhh…Listen to Your Pebble: Mindfulness Education: The Relationship Between Children, Imagination, and Nature. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.