How To Get Some Emotional Distance In An Argument?

What happens when you have an argument? Your blood pressure rises. Your cardiac rate increases and you can feel a rush of adrenaline in your veins. As words fly and tempers flare up, there comes a time when you show a flight or fight response, or simply freeze. Things can quickly get down to violence and if you wish to avoid that, like any sensible person, it is a good idea to get some emotional distance. Here is how you can do that.

Disengage from debates

You can experience intense threats to your views, dignity and even physical safety when you have an argument – whether in person or on social networking websites such as Twitter or Facebook. A good idea is to disengage from such debates completely, lest you lose your cool and blow the lid. Disengagement is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it helps keep your blood pressure levels down and lets you avoid unnecessary problems.

Try self-distancing

This is an effective approach that can help you to maintain a balance when there is disagreement and conflict. Rather than creating some type of distance from an ‘adversary’, you can get some distance from yourself with self-distancing. You can try to shift your perspective from the 1st person to the 2nd or 3rd person on some situation. For instance, if you are a person named Tom, rather than wondering “Why do I feel like this” you may ask “Why does Tom feel like this”? This can help you to see things from a different perspective, of that of a third person, and take rational decisions and have a more logical thought process.

Respecting alternative viewpoints

Respect alternative points of view. This is another of the key ways to get a perspective on argument. It is a good idea for you to have a different thinking about conflict in order to have some emotional distance. For instance, distancing may be a powerful tool to prevent political polarization. When you are laid off or get involved in an argument about politics or some other thing that you care deeply about, it is easy to lose your cool. But you have to consider the fact that life will go on and take its own course despite this, and you can feel less pessimistic and anxious.

Pause for some time

When you are in an argument, pause for some time before you show any response. This will provide you with some breathing space, and you can use the time to reframe your circumstance with a little self-distancing. You will be surprised at how much it can slow you down, relax your body and let you respond in a more thoughtful and wiser manner.

Breathe deeply

This is a basic technique of mindfulness that can help you when the situation is tense. Inhale for 6 seconds and exhale for 10 seconds. Try to distract your mind to some object, a signboard, a person standing at a distance etc. This will help focus you and make you calmer.


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