We’ve all been guilty of reacting emotionally at some point in our lives. Emotional responses to situations can often degenerate into a hysterical argument, a humiliating tirade, an awkward encounter or just an all-around bad experience. So this article will take you through how not to react emotionally.

how not to react emotionally

This may be something that happens worse for others than some. Not everyone has the ability to keep things in check. However, there are some simple guidelines you can follow to help regulate your emotional responses.

1. Wait

One of the worst things you can do when faced with an emotionally charged situation is react right away. It’s really easy to say something without thinking in a situation where emotions are running high, either yours or someone else’s. In these situations, it’s best to take a breather. Take some time to calm down before responding; you at least need to give yourself the chance to put together a rational response rather than an emotional one.

2. Put things into perspective

Try and get a handle on the situation. Ask yourself what’s really going on? What’s bothering you anyway? Take some time to try and rationalize the subject and put it into its correct context. Are you overreacting or is there something that may be a legitimate point of concern? Is there anything that can be done to fix or work around the problem at hand? You’ll probably find that most problems are more easily dealt with when they’re looked at in a rational way.

3. Think it’s not a personal attack (even it is)

Sometimes an emotional reaction is just a step away from becoming a personal attack. Most of the time people who react emotionally in an inappropriate way to situations ultimately do so because they’re bothered about something. They have an objective that is running contrary to how their emotions feel. It’s not necessarily a personal attack, and you shouldn’t take it that way. If someone you know reacts to a situation with anger, put yourself in their position before reacting so that you understand the reason for which they reacted the way they did.

4. Take responsibility

The last thing you want to do is take on the role of the victim. It will make you look whiny, silly and more importantly, weak. Sometimes things need to be taken to task as you also need to take on a leadership role rather than a victim role. In order for the organisation to function effectively and benefit everyone, someone may have to take charge and be accountable for its failure.  If there’s a situation that has occurred that needs resolving, then you need to step up and be accountable for its resolution.

5. Breath

It might seem odd in the middle of a discussion but you should take a few deep breaths. We tend to get so caught up in the minute details of things that we fail to keep track of the basic fundamentals of what’s actually going on. If you can attempt to calm down, step back, gather your thoughts and then get back into the discussion with an informed and well-thought-out response, then it will be much easier for everyone involved.

6. Was it warranted?

A person who reacts emotionally is likely reacting for a good reason. They may have valid concerns and a good reason why they reacted the way they did. It’s best to take those into consideration before deciding on how you will deal with it.

7. Take things as it comes

One of the key points I’ve been trying to make throughout this article is that people react emotionally because of something, and even if they don’t have an objective reason, there may be valid explanations that can be worked around if we just give them a chance first. Giving people a chance to explain their side before reacting yourself, will make you more likely to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

8. Have patience

Sometimes you just have to be patient and wait for things to settle down. If there is a situation that has occurred that needs resolving, either someone else’s or your own, then all it takes is time for everything to work itself out. You can’t change the past so it’s not worth getting frustrated about it; instead, focus on the present and make the best of it.

9. Open your mind

There’s no point looking at things from a single perspective. By seeing things from different perspectives, you can usually come to a better conclusion about how something should be done. Try and find the middle ground as opposed to your own opinion, by using this article as an example you can then apply it in your daily lives and eventually understand your emotions in a different way to what you do now.

10. Walk away

Drastic but a little extreme at times, but sometimes you just have to walk away from the situation. If things are getting out of hand, if you’re getting annoyed, frustrated or irritated, then it’s best to walk away from the situation before things get completely out of hand.

11. Look for solutions

It’s best to look for solutions to what has occurred rather than dwelling on the problem or feeling sorry for yourself. Once you’ve put together a solution, and even worked around the problem to some extent, it will be a lot easier to deal with it if it should happen again in the future. This way you can deal with things as they happen rather than fixating yourself on them so much that they start interfering in your daily life.

12. Don’t take things personally

I’m sure many of you have heard this a million times, but don’t take things personally. Don’t be so defensive about the things that others say to you or about you. Arguments can start about the most trivial of issues and people can get worked over the smallest of details. When someone starts a discussion with you, keep an open mind and listen to what they are saying, instead of letting your emotions get in the way.

13. Look at it from their perspective

It’s best to find out what someone is actually saying rather than assuming what they’re saying. Ask yourself, are they being negative about you or the situation? Is there anything that can be worked around? It’s far better to assume the best and try and work around the problem than to assume that something is a legitimate problem when in actual fact, it isn’t.

Tips to implement a plan of responding vs reacting

If you’ve read this far without reacting to any of the articles, then you’re a good person.

Here’s a handy list I made of tips that can help you respond rather than react:

1. Know how to react

There is no point in trying to respond if you don’t know how to react. If you’ve never experienced an argument, then all it will be is for a headache for both people involved and in the end, no one will gain anything from it. If you don’t know how to react, then at least learn how not to react and that’s by not re-acting. If you can learn how to read people and respond in a way that yields the best outcome for everyone involved, then it will be a lot easier.

2. Take some time

If you do start to react, then take a minute or two to pause and consider your options. Take some time to think about what has occurred, why it did, where it might lead and whether or not there is a better way that benefits everyone. If you lack the ability to read people or situations, then there’s no point trying to respond and if there’s no point trying to learn then we can all go home now.

3. Take action

Take action by responding. A response may not be what you would prefer or what you want to hear, but it’s better to react than nothing at all. It doesn’t matter that the other person may not have meant it that way because if they keep their emotions under control then there’s a chance that you’ll calm down and learn something from the discussion.

4. Don’t take it personally

If someone is making a mistake or a slight error in judgment, then don’t take it personally. If someone is trying to make a point but has used the wrong terminology, then don’t take it personally. If someone has made a mistake, then don’t get mad about it or start shouting. If you take things personally, then you’re making a big assumption that will only lead to arguments and pressure on those involved.

5. Find solutions

It may be that people are looking for solutions in the wrong places and you can help them find them because someone else already has the answer to their problems. For example, if people are looking for the best computer to buy to solve their problem with their slow computer, then it’s your job to help them. If they’re looking for advice, then provide them with the solution that you believe will best solve their problems.

6. Listen to yourself

Don’t just listen to others but also listen to yourself and make sure you’re not causing anybody harm. If you are, then you may be doing something wrong and you should take the time to understand what it is. If you don’t listen to yourself and try re-act your emotions, then there’s no point trying to re-act against other people because you’ll fail.

7. Let go of your ego

If someone has a problem with you, then they will most likely tell you about it as soon as they get the chance. In order to prevent yourself from losing your mind over someone’s problem, it’s best to let go of your ego and not let it get in the way.

8. Look for reasons to be constructive

If you’re trying your best to solve a problem but still can’t find a solution, then try looking for ways of being constructive and helpful towards those involved rather than destructive and negative. If you can’t see any way of being constructive and helpful, then telling someone about the problem won’t solve anything.

9. Don’t give them what they want

Most people will use every dirty trick in the book to get a response out of you and upset you into reacting. If someone doesn’t get what they want, then they’ll try to manipulate you into getting what they want however it’s obvious that this isn’t working because if it was, then they would already have what they wanted.

Conclusion – how not to react emotionally

Our lives can be a lot easier if we just learn how not to react emotionally in certain situations. Try to keep your cool and look at things from a rational point of view. Try not to overreact, this is not the time to get upset and have an emotional reaction.

Being able to deal with situations that involve potentially volatile emotional emotions is critical for a sustainable and long-term organisation, or at least, your own personal life.

Always keep in mind that it’s better to try and respond rather than react. It’s far easier to deal with a situation when you’re calm and rational because you’ll be able to see things clearly and not let the emotions get the best of you.

If you have any questions or comments, then please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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