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"Well, that escalated quickly"--How to self-soothe when conversations get out of hand

Our conversations with each other--whether they take place in small setting at home between partners or between parents/children, or in a large setting in public between groups of people--can get heated very fast.

Whether we converse in a small or large setting, whether we converse with people whom we know or just met for the first time, there are times we might feel overwhelmed, have a hard time calming down, can't think straight, and sometimes say something we might later regret.

In a word, we're flooded.

When our bodies are flooded, we're essentially in a fight-flight-freeze-mode. Our heart is racing. Our breathing is short. And we're no longer in a place to talk logically or really hear what the other person is saying.

At those moments, the first step in addressing the flooding response is to STOP THE DISCUSSION. Let the other person (or people) know you're flooded and take 20-30 minutes to self-soothe.

One powerful way to self-soothe is simply by breathing. Try this exercise below while placing your hand on your abdomen (belly) and as you breathe notice your abdomen filling up with air as your breathe in, and notice your abdomen go down as your breathe out. Do this for a few minutes and afterwards, scan your body for tension. How's your heart rate now? How's your thinking now?

By self-soothing, you'll be in a better place to work through conflicts and interactions.

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