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A Guide to Communicating Under Stress

Man and woman sitting on couch facing each other and have a heated conversation. Both have defensive expressions.

We’ve all been in a situation where we’re having an in-depth conversation with someone and either you or the other person is under a state of stress. Typically, those conversations do not end well.

When we are stressed out or emotionally overwhelmed we are more likely to misread other people, send confusing or negative non-verbal signals, and have unhealthy "knee-jerk" reactions. This creates a perfect scenario for chaos.

Instead, we need to stop and evaluate how these emotions are impacting our conversations, and ultimately, our relationships with others.

So, the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, implement these practices before, during, and after your conversation.

  • Breathe, pause and collect your thoughts

  • Be open-minded & create a space of non-judgment

  • Discuss one topic at a time

  • Ask for clarification

  • Pause and gain control of your thoughts and feelings

  • Clarify any misunderstandings without trying to solve an issue

  • Wrap up with a summary and Stop the conversation

Congratulations, you did it. How did it go? Did you notice improvement from your previous, chaotic conversations? Be sure to reward yourself for a job well done. This was a courageous step to have one good conversation success!

You’ll likely find that the tips are very effective in conversations of all different types, whether it’s with a spouse, estranged partner, coworker, or with your children.

If you’re still needing help and guidance with productive and healthy communication, I encourage you to schedule a Mediation session. Wise Choice Educational & Family Solutions is here to help you thrive. Click here to book an appointment.

A close up of Laura smiling. She is wearing a burgundy colored shirt and dangling earrings.

Our team at Wise Choice Family & Educational Solutions is passionately committed to helping families and individuals go beyond surviving to being free to enjoy life and realize their potential. We're here to help you schedule an appointment today.

- Laura Rosal, MA Qualified Mental Health Professional & Mediator

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