Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Coping with Emotional Intensity

So what happens when you are trying to explain to someone something and they simply shut you down or instead start yelling at you?
Arguments are mostly a emotionally intense and we often feel as though the other person doesn't care about us. Lambert (1996) has an easier way of coping with intense emotions, his advice "when things start to go off the rails and signs of roused emotions appear, think SARAH."
If you were like me, you are probably wondering, now who is SARAH?
Well, it's an acronym for:
  • S---- Stop talking: This would create more room and time for you to listen to what the other person is saying.
  • A---- Active listening: Pay attention to the tone of voice, the gestures, facial expressions while listening to what the person is saying.
  • R---- Reflect content or feeling: Think back to what was said and how you reacted to it and what you would have done otherwise. This process is about your understanding on the situation.
  • A---- Act with empathy: Empathy is recognizing and acknowledging someone's feelings without necessarily feeling them yourself. It is not sympathy, where you feel sorry for the person.
  • H---- Handle objections: Deal with what the other person says. At times they may deny having meant something or said it, you have to think this through and talk it out with them.
This approach can be applied anywhere, be it at the workplace or at home. It sure does sound a lot better than counting backwards or taking deep breaths.

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