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Keeping the Peace

It's challenging to stay in the neutral zone in the presence of someone's frustration, anger, and disappointment. We can become angry or defensive instead of detached and curious. For the person demonstrating anger and the observer, our brain dictates how we respond. The angry person operates from the amygdala, the "fight or flight" portion of the brain. If the observer becomes angry or defensive, their "fight or flight" response is triggered. Both are unable to access the higher-functioning part of their brain.

Here are ways to detach, remain neutral, and stay curious in the presence of someone's frustration, anger, and disappointment.

Ways to Stay Curious

  • Remember, 99.9% of the time, this is not about you. The angry person is trying to feel in control of something that’s out of control for them.

  • Take a few deep breaths. Conscious breathing will keep your defenses from being triggered.

  • If, for any reason, you’re feeling unsafe, leave.

  • Go soft or even toned when someone is loud with you. This is known as going neutral.

  • If you are feeling disrespected, speak to the observed behavior and then state how the observed behavior makes you feel.​

  • Staying present with someone’s frustration, anger, and disappointment requires focus and energy. Take time to replenish.

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