Arguing is the worst. Not only is it extremely frustrating and often a gigantic waste of time, but it can also put your health at risk.
In many cases, an argument makes participants defensive. Adrenaline kicks in, blood pressure boosts, and voices get louder. The body is responding to stress and everything becomes more intense.
Regardless of who you’re fighting with, this is rarely a good situation. And if you’ve got high blood pressure, heart disease, or at high risk for heart attack or stroke, these conditions could trigger a life-threatening cardiovascular event.
Just because you’re in a disagreement with somebody does not mean it has to escalate into a heated exchange. Learning to stay mindful during conversations, particularly when they have the chance to get heated, could help eliminate stress from your life and reduce the risk of a heart attack.
The key to a mindful argument is doing your best to choose the conversation and not allow it to escalate. To do this, there are a few steps to follow.
First, if you are upset, try to calm down and take on an accepting attitude. Accept that both you and your counterpart are upset and have strong opinions. Next, try diffusing the argument by trying to agree on what you are trying to resolve.
Often, arguments can be avoided when participants realize they are not even talking about the same thing. This step may also allow you to agree that the topic really isn’t worth arguing, either.
Next, ask yourself a few questions. The first is how you might be able to relate to your counterparts’ feelings or the topic in general. Next, assess how your body and mind are feeling.
Do you feel fear, unease, frustration, pain, or anger? Whatever it is, take note and accept it. Then take a moment, perhaps a deep breath with a 10-count, and clear up your intentions. Identify what you are arguing for or against and what you are hoping to achieve.
Going through this process prior to or during an argument can help you avoid getting too heated. It can also help diffuse situations by encouraging a thoughtful approach and seeking common ground.
Oh, and if you made a mistake, just admit it! No point in stressing about, or trying to justify, something that will get you nowhere!