Time Outs are Not Just for Toddlers

I get it, we all at one point in our lives have lived with someone who we sometimes can not stand. Maybe it’s your super conservative grandmother who comes and visits your family every summer and her old fashioned beliefs turn to insults that make you bite your tongue while you are silently fuming inside.

Or maybe it’s your roommate who criticizes you for leaving a shirt on the ground when they barely even bring their own dirty dishes to the sink, let alone wash them.

You know them, the one person that you just can’t stand sometimes; but no matter what, you are stuck because of your living arrangements with them, at least for now. Unless you’re the rich and famous, one can not just pack up and leave in one night.

At any rate, living arrangements can be quite difficult. Chores, curfews, cooking, bathroom space, they all come with challenges. Challenges and disagreements that can lead to arguments, which can lead to anger. Anger itself, is a secondary emotion, and is built on other feelings. Maybe the anger came from frustration, sadness, guilt or maybe a combination of more than one emotion, depending on the circumstance.

Everyone responds to anger differently, but for me personally, I tend to not rationalize my thoughts well when I am angry. I can also get quite self destructive when my anger is built off of guilt and shame, so I take out the anger on myself. Guilt-anger can be quite unhealthy, and at times dangerous for me, so I’ve found it is best to escape from the situation as soon as possible.

The simplest and most effective solution I have found is something many believe are only for bratty young children, time outs.

Time outs in this situation would be leaving the heated argument or situation for a set amount of time for the purpose of cooling oneself down. The time length could vary from ten minutes to an hour and this can be done in several different ways, depending on the person. Exercise, listening to music, cleaning, writing in a journal, watching a funny movie, praying, going for a walk outside or maybe just taking a nap.

The importance of calming down, I have found, is very important when anger is sparked from a very strong emotion. The least effective way to solve any issue with someone is when you are all high strung and upset. Simply stating that you “want to take a time out” and will be back in half an hour or so, should be enough of an explanation to give to someone who you are in a heated discussion or argument with.

Getting along with others you cohabit with can be very challenging at times, but finding coping mechanisms can help tremendously.

So what are some of your emotional coping strategies you have found work well for you? Let me know in the comments below!

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