During a stressful day, when you have heated arguments with your loved ones, what do you tend to do? Are you tempted to prove your own point?

Here's a confession: This post is actually the result of the way I overreacted to a request from my husband a couple of days ago. At that time, I felt he was being unreasonable, demanding and pushy. I was under a high amount of stress, and was managing multiple demands from home and work. I kept arguing, overstating my case, making scathing remarks, hitting below the belt, all in a vain attempt to get him to agree to my point of view. I believed I was “right” and wasn’t about to settle for anything less! But being “right” comes with its own emotional costs.

You may say things or act in way, which is hurtful and damaging to the relationship. Often to the point of breakdown. In my experience of working with several cultures across the world, I have discovered that this whole hurt cycle can be completely avoided, if we take some time to cool off from our emotions and resist from reacting impulsively.

Controlling your reaction doesn’t mean letting go of the point of argument, or agree to something which you do not approve of. It simply means that you take time to respond, rather than react, so that you don’t end up hurting yourself or others. It means that you learn to hold yourself back, even when you’re enraged.

As Victor Frankly beautifully puts it: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”. No matter how bad the situation is, a few seconds of control can be a lifesaver. And often a few seconds is all that’s needed.

I call it “The Power of Pause”. When in the midst of a heated argument, all that is needed is to back off, take some time to calm down, breathe deeply, and once you feel calm enough, to return to the discussion in a respectful and rational way.

A power tip

Whenever you feel intense negative emotions, practise deep breathing before you react. This helps you relieve stress and center yourself. This one practice that will dramatically increase your emotional control. Follow the steps given below:

  • inhale deeply for four counts;
  • hold the breath in for four counts;
  • exhale for four counts;
  • hold the breath out for four counts.

Repeat the process for two minutes till you feel yourself getting calmer. If you need more time, go for a walk or get yourself busy with some activity. This will help you gain back your control. Remember you are the only person in control of your reactions.

Affirmation for the week

No person, place, or thing has any power over me, as I am the only thinker in my mind. I choose to be calm and centered in all situations. All is well in my world.