When working through relationship issues, no matter how hard we try not to, sometimes we just lose our cool. Emotions run high, rough words are exchanged, and our entire body is affected. There is an increase in blood flow to the lungs, heart, arms, and legs, but blood flow to your brain, particularly the frontal lobe, is restricted. Unfortunately, the frontal lobe is where we do our problem solving, so we aren’t exactly at our best.
Take a Break from Your Relationship Issues
When an argument gets heated, the best course of action is to step back from the situation for a bit. As a Houston relationship counselor, there are several techniques I recommend my clients use to bring their bodies back to a more rational state.
Breathe. When we get angry, we tend to breathe faster or hold our breath. Take 5 deep breaths – inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Visualize. Close your eyes and picture yourself in a more peaceful setting, maybe at the beach or on a mountaintop.
Listen to soothing sounds. Put on some relaxing music, or sit and enjoy the gentle trickle of a water fountain.
Drink hot tea. Look for a non-caffeinated variety if you can, and find blends that are known for their soothing effects, like chamomile or mint.
Bathe. Draw up a warm bath. If you can, find ways to enjoy soothing scents too. Light up some aromatic candles or toss in some bath salts.
Exercise. Sometimes arguments will leave you feeling highly emotional – rejected, sad, and tearful. In these cases, it can be best to get yourself out of the funk by doing some light exercise, such as taking a walk, doing yoga, or even dancing to cheerful music.
When you feel your body return to a normal, neutral state, then – and only then – will you be ready to go back to talk about those relationship issues with your partner. But remember, it takes two to tango! So make sure to ask your partner (nicely) if he or she is ready too. Don’t expect your partner to be on the same schedule as you. If your spouse requests more time to cool down, respect that, and wait until both of you are calm enough to talk things out.