Keeping Cool When Emotions Heat Up

Two unhappy teenage girls sitting on bench

Controlling your emotions is not always easy, but when you don’t, regret often follows. When faced with mounting pressures and daily challenges, it can be hard to handle situations that arise.  There is nothing wrong with being angry – it is normal, but controlling that anger so that it doesn’t turn into a verbal or physical altercation is the challenge that both kids and adults face.

When you have a hard time controlling your emotions, it’s often good to take a step back and get a little perspective…

Control:

  • If things get heated, take a deep breath and try to collect yourself.
  • Don’t allow outside provokers to amplify your feelings.
  • Speak calmly and with respect. Tell yourself that all people have a decent side.
  • If you or the person you’re speaking to is getting heated, remove yourself from that setting and tell them that you’d like to finish the discussion later. It takes 30 minutes to calm down once you lose your temper – just walk away.
  • Ask yourself if the disagreement is worth the risk of getting into trouble if things get heated. Kids can get kicked out of school or arrested for fighting!
  • If you feel fearful, leave. Your body is trying to tell you that something is wrong when your heart speeds up, your stomach feels funny, and you get hot and sweaty.

Perspective:

  • Ask yourself how and why the situation escalated.
  • Remember that your self-respect is more important than any argument or disagreement.
  • Remind yourself that it’s natural to get angry, but that doesn’t have to lead to fights or arguments.
  • Not everyone has the same opinions or perspective on things, and that’s okay.
  • Satisfying an impulse isn’t worth doing or saying something that cannot be undone.
  • You can voice your opinion in a calm and respectful way that you can be proud of.
  • Ask yourself if this situation is really what you are upset about or if something else is the true culprit of your anger.

If you are in a situation where people you know are arguing, and you want to try to de-escalate the situation:

  • Talk calmly.
  • Reassure them that they are both entitled to their opinions.
  • Tell them that it’s okay to disagree.
  • Remind them that fighting it’s not worth the consequences.
  • Try to stop others from making matters worse by provoking them or crowding around them.
  • Assess the situation to make sure that you can’t be hurt, but if things intensify, it’s okay to walk away.
  • If you feel assistance is needed, call for help. Getting help is not tattling – you are trying to stop someone from getting hurt.

Remember that the bigger and stronger person has the power to walk away. Nothing and no one is worth getting into trouble that could lead to regretting your words, actions, or even lead to an arrest. Nothing.

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