The 4-Step Plan That Keeps People Calm In Their Angriest Moments

Our worst moments often start with intense situations, where we react without thought. This system helps prevent that.

Woman reigning her anger in while addressing a intense situation with her neighbor GabrielPevide, Dean Drobot | Canva  

Conflict is inevitable in life. We are human, and life is going to get intense at times. 

Not long ago, a client of mine found herself in conflict with her neighbor who constantly parked in her driveway and let their dog loose in her garden, among other unneighborly things.

She'd been out of work for over a month and had no success obtaining a new job. Then, she found out her dad was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. The same week, she got home from a job interview and found her neighbor parked in her driveway without permission — yet again.


Her initial reaction was "hit-the-roof angry", as she called it. She started to prepare for another in a long series of confrontations with her disrespectful neighbor. She is usually an adaptable person. However, it took her more time to accept and deal with each added challenge with all the accumulated stress. But she wanted to do it differently this time. 

RELATED: 3 Essential Steps Practical People Use To Not React Emotionally

Why it's so hard to react rationally in intense situations

High stress can cause us to react instead of respond. It happens to many of us far too often. It can feel like the situation spirals out of control in the blink of an eye. Without realizing it, we are thrown a series of jabs followed by a one-two combination that puts us down temporarily, each series knocking us closer to a standing eight count.


Caught off guard or unprepared, a person can be left deeply shaken, confused, and scared.

Here is the simplest way to get through the most intense moments.

1. Bring yourself to your breath.

Start with taking a moment to breathe. Take several deep breaths in, several deep breaths out, and a pause in between. Release the tension to let peace and calm enter your thoughts and permeate past the initial emotions.

RELATED: How To Feel More In Control Of Yourself (And Your Life!) Using These 4 Psychological Tricks


2. Incorporate the pause.

Take a few seconds or even minutes before you speak or act. Gather your thoughts. Let things settle and allow the commotion to die down for a moment. Pause as long as is appropriate until you can respond.

3. Remain observant and patient.

Avoid rushing in with all guns blazing. Truth is usually always in the details. A patient mind can see way more than one speeding into a wall.

RELATED: You Are Not At The Mercy Of Your Emotions

4. Remain in the moment-by-moment.

Stressful situations can provoke impulsive and reactionary responses based on the perceived intensity or severity of the dilemma. Though it can be easy to be reactive when the going gets tough, it only serves to diminish or prolong any potential positive result. How we respond can make or break the situation. Applying a moment-by-moment approach to circumstances can help us learn to handle them more eloquently. This approach can help us stay within our intellectual mind, especially when our emotions want to run rampant.


How my client reacted better with this method 

She decided to respond to the situation and take each moment carefully rather than having a yelling match with her neighbor. Doing her best to stop projecting expectations about potential outcomes, which usually set her anxiety off the charts, she decided to deal with one part of the conversation at a time.

She was pleased and proud of herself for remaining observant during the conversation. She perceived it as a fact-finding mission rather than a personal attack. Ultimately, they reached an understanding. She would have the cars towed on the spot with no notification. More importantly, she maintained her composure and could discuss calmly what she needed during the conversation.

When we avoid overreacting, we open to possibilities not dictated by our emotions and seek a path suitable to our safety, control, and point of view. We start to see the situation as it is rather than what we think, assume, or imagine it to be.


How we choose to handle the emotional charge is a decision on our part; how we choose to respond is within our control. Moment-by-moment offers us a chance to take life as it comes while not taking on more than we need to at any given time. We handle things on our terms and are not swayed or rushed into something we may regret later.

Taking the moment-by-moment approach keeps us objective and limits our expectations. In this mindset, we can consider potential outcomes and be open to the situation unfolding with heartful guidance.

RELATED: 3 Sneaky Signs Anger Has Taken Over Your Life (& You Don't Even Realize It)


Pamela Aloia is a certified grief coach, intuitive/medium, and author of inspirational books. Pamela supports people through change and helps them enhance their lives and experiences via energy awareness, meditation, and mindfulness.