Free De-Escalation Techniques

By Eric Benac
Man gesturing to calm down
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In day to day life, stress can cause a lot of anger between people. Fights can break out quickly if things aren’t handled correctly. Learning how to avoid a fight is important in a high-stress environment, such as work and mass public situations. Knowing a few simple de-escalation techniques can help turn a bad situation around.

Remain Calm

The worst thing you can do in a potential fight situation is to become angry, agitated or excited. During tense situations, your body will naturally be pumped full of adrenaline, due to the fight or flight response. This can cause thoughtfulness and deep thinking to become nearly impossible. It is important to remember that the person you are angry with also will be pumped full of adrenaline. Remain calm and keep your cool. This can be done by breathing deeply. Deep breathing will fill your body with oxygen, including your mind. This will help you think more clearly. Count to 10 if necessary. Try to think of something more pleasant than the current situation. This can help you use further de-escalation techniques in a carefully controlled manner.

Respect

Be respectful. Listen to what the person says and try to understand where your disagreement lies. Don’t just hear what he says; understand it. You may not respect how this person behaves, but you should respect the person. Careful and respectful listening can help you understand his viewpoint. You should stop disagreeing with him and arguing with his viewpoint. Remain quiet as he explains his problem. Look him straight in the eye with a neutral expression and nod your head at his points. Don’t look away from him while he speaks because he may think you’re not paying attention. If he asks for your opinion, give a brief explanation. These techniques may help to calm him down and create an atmosphere of understanding and empathy.

Share

Once he has calmed down, share your opinion with him. This will help him understand why you acted the way you acted, and it can help him understand your viewpoint. As a result, you can reach mutual understanding and the fight can be over. Speak clearly and calmly. Don’t avoid his gaze. Look at him steadily. Avoid showing emotion. As you speak, keep a neutral expression on your face and in your voice. This can avoid potential recurrence of emotion. Having treated him with respect, he should begin treating you with respect. If he shows anger, don’t become excited. Stay calm and neutral while explaining yourself. This will help to foster a feeling of mutual understanding.

About the Author

Eric Benac began writing professionally in 2001. After working as an editor at Alpena Community College in Michigan and receiving his Associate of Journalism, he received a Bachelor of Science in English and a Master of Arts in writing from Northern Michigan University in Marquette.