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Home When arguments get heated, I lose control of my emotions! What can help me manage my emotions better?

When arguments get heated, I lose control of my emotions! What can help me manage my emotions better?


We are too familiar with moments when we let our emotions get the better of us. After we calm down from an angry outburst, we realize that we should have managed our feelings better, and lessened the hurt we caused to a loved one. 

You are not alone. Having strong emotions like anger, frustration, and fear are part of our being human. However, there are certainly ways we can deal with them in the moment, so that we can express them in healthy, rather than harmful ways. 

The Skill of Managing Emotions

Managing strong emotions is actually a skill and developing it is worthwhile. Research has shown that when people are good at recognizing their emotions, they are either more able to calm themselves down or make adjustments to their behavior in times of high emotions.

When this skill is undeveloped, it can cause harm to us or to others around us. We are more likely to deal with big emotions through: 

  1. Engaging in risky behaviors like substance-abuse or self harm
  2. Avoiding our emotions
  3. Bullying 
  4. Ruminating

What are effective ways to manage emotions? 

  • First, notice your emotions. 

The first step in dealing with emotions is to notice what your emotions are at present or the past few days. Using a tool like the emotion wheel can help you figure out your current emotions, so you can proceed to finding out their cause.

  • What emotion(s) do I predominantly feel at present? 
  • What signs do I notice in myself when these emotions are present? 
  • What are the probable reasons for these feelings? 

Defusing anger

Anger is a strong feeling we may struggle with the most. Expressing it at the moment that our anger is the strongest might cause damage to us or others, so we can employ some strategies to avoid harm. One effective strategy to defuse anger immediately is to remove ourselves from the situation that triggers us. Take a few minutes to leave the room, take a walk, and do deep breathing exercises. Deep breaths send signals to your brain to decrease our heart rate and blood pressure. 

  • Use strategies to calm yourself down. 

Strong emotions during a heated argument might be characterized by pacing, talking fast, and erratic breaths. 

When you notice yourself doing these, practice these small steps to help your body slow its stress-induced reactions. 

  1. Try moving slowly. If you are pacing, walk slowly. Listen more, and speak less. Focus on breathing slowly. 
  2. Notice your thoughts at that moment. It is easier to assume, judge or make conclusions about a situation or a person (even about ourselves!)  when we are angry, but we can practice the skill of differentiating fact from opinion. “Is what I am thinking now my assumption, or did it actually happen?” Oftentimes, what we believe to be true when we are angry are negative thoughts from our negative feelings, but they are not necessarily true. 

  • Learn to communicate, and ask for support. 

Do you ever feel like pushing other people away when you are at the height of your emotions? It is hard, but seeking connections with others would be more helpful. Your support system can help you by listening to you, guide you and even provide you with emotional support. 

In an increasingly hectic world where we don’t have much leisure time to relax, yet we are bombarded by anxiety-inducing triggers, our emotions can serve as our internal navigators. When we learn to manage them well, we can make more meaningful decisions and take care of our mental wellbeing and those of others too!

Find your next job opportunity in healthcare! Browse through hundreds of job opportunities for mental health professionals that are tailored to your skills and qualifications! 

When arguments get heated, I lose control of my emotions! What can help me manage my emotions better?
Brandon Resasco