It’s Best to Stay Quiet During the Storm and Speak During the Calm

· August 30, 2016
When you’re angry, you may not have full control over what you’re saying. It’s best stay quiet during the storm before discussing how you feel calmly.

When a storm breaks, the elements of nature collide with one another to display their most aggressive, most chaotic sides, which can sometimes be dangerous. The same applies to human relationships. We too can have emotional crashes and collisions that manifest as arguments, disagreements, and differences. It’s precisely at those points when the ability to stay quiet and calm may be helpful to resolve differences.

When that storm comes, it seems to bring everything together — exhaustion, anger, and misunderstanding. The trigger might even be something casual. Regardless, many people lose their patience to the point of saying things that they will later regret.

It’s not always easy to keep a cool head and a warm heart, but sometimes a storm can bring 10 years of regret. You must learn to remain calm and stay quiet during this time.

When the storm reaches your heart

It’s common to say things like “your heart is broken,” or “your heart was filled with anger.” But where you really feel the pain and shame is in your brain. That’s where the real storm is unleashed.

Let’s look at this issue in more detail.

Arguments and psychological changes

When opportunity, a trigger, and bad luck collide in the midst of an argument, the first thing your brain perceives is a “threat.”

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  • Something is attacking your belief system, your equilibrium, or what you feel is true.
  • You’re hurt because of someone you respect. They’re causing you to doubt something that’s important to you.
  • You feel threatened by certain words, ideas, or even a gaze. Gazes can make you feel threatened or belittled.
Sometimes it's best to balance your emotions and thoughts and stay quiet instead.

Your brain identifies these situations as dangerous and triggers an instinctive response by regulating your parasympathetic nervous system. It prepares you to defend yourself and also to escape:

  • Your heart rate accelerates.
  • Nerve impulses are sent to your muscles to prepare you to move. This readiness may manifest as shaking and tremors, which you may feel in your hands, stomach, or legs.
  • You may experience agitation, dry mouth, and a gripping anxiety that keeps you from thinking clearly.

During the “storm” your brain can’t think

When you’re arguing during those highly charged emotional moments in fights or misunderstandings, the brain thinks only of defending itself and activating your body to escape.

This makes you unable to think calmly, stay quiet, or speak clearly.

  • But what could happen in the midst of an argument is that your defense mechanisms fail, and you no longer have that “filter” that keeps you from saying certain things.
  • During this emotional storm, you might let each and every emotion or thought you have loose.
  • You are being completely honest, but be careful because anything you release at that point in time will be filled with negativity. That’s why it’s common to choose words that are full of anger, and that you later regret.

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While you might first experience some relief for having said what you were feeling, eventually you will realize that it wasn’t appropriate.

Stay quiet during the storm and speak in the calm

This is a tough strategy to implement, but if you stay quiet during the storm and reserve your energies for moments of mental clarity, it will result in a more appropriate response.

To do this, you can make use of the following strategies.

The defensive wall

When an argument arises and you find yourself suddenly in the awkward position of a fight or disagreement, imagine a defensive wall in your mind.

If you stay quiet and build a wall around you, you may enjoy better relationships.

  • Behind that wall you are in a palace of calm, but it is a palace that has windows where you can see and, of course, listen.
  • Being in this relaxed and protected space should allow you to hear every word that the person before you is saying until later, when you can calmly analyze the situation in depth.
  • While the other person is “fired up,” defending their point of view, you can keep yourself in a state of indifference or calm. Even so, your attitude should be receptive. That doesn’t mean that you should take crying or negative emotions too seriously.

Assertiveness

When the argument ends and a few hours or days have passed, you can choose a better time to talk to the person in question. You must make it clear that you don’t want to start a new fight or argument.

  • Believe it or not, speaking quietly and firmly with another person will cause them to be silent and observe you.
  • Only then can you argue your position with poise and assertiveness, always demonstrating that you understand the other person’s point of view, but that you don’t share it.
  • Don’t hesitate to make use of personal pronouns. Some examples are “I’m sorry,” “I love you,” or “I understand you.”
  • If the other person insists on restarting the fight without understanding your point of view or focusing only on the differences between you, then it’s not worth continuing.
  • It’s better to put some distance between you if that’s the case.

There are some fights that aren’t worth the misunderstanding and pain when one person has no desire for understanding.

Furness, J. B. (2010). Parasympathetic Nervous System. In Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-008045046-9.01990-2