Learning to recognize the early warning signs of emotional reactions is huge in diffusing them before they sabotage communication. When you can catch the symptoms in your body of an adrenal response (tension in your muscles, heart or thoughts racing, sweaty palms, knots in your stomach, irritability or edginess) you can then take steps to de-escalate yourself.

  • What’s going on physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally?
  • Identify your feelings. Be curious about them.
  • What are the FACTS – What did I see or hear?
  •  “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
  1. Create space
  • Physically remove self from situation.
  • Internally give self permission to slow down.
  • Take several minutes in this safe place. Physiologically, you may need 20 minutes or more.

Goal: Seek a quiet space for comfort, clarity, and objectivity.


  • Own your thoughts, feelings, actions, beliefs, through personal responsibility:
    • I am responsible for my own Thoughts, Feelings, Attitudes, and Behavior (TFAB).
    • I am not responsible for another’s TFAB.
    • In relationships, I recognize I contribute a positive or negative influence, but I cannot control or determine another’s TFAB.
  • Accept the job to exercise personal care.
  • “Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts.”
  1. Identify my feelings
  • What are my emotions, buttons, fears in this moment?
  • View my feelings as information

Goal: Validate and accept emotions, buttons, fears.


  • Allow God to enter.
  • What’s the Truth? (Know the truth and the truth shall set you free.)
  • “God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
  1. Allow God to enter.
  • Ask yourself: What brings a life-giving, nondestructive way forward? What is the TRUTH?
  • What does God say to me (comfort, truth, conviction, value and worth?)
  • Allow Him to remind me I am the caretaker of the body/mind He has given me.

Goal: Between you and God, allow your wants to be met. 


  • Ask myself what are the negative messages/beliefs?
  • What is the STORY I’m telling about the FACTS and what are the FEELINGS as a result?
  • How am I contributing?
  • “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”
  •  “Above all else, guard your heart, for from it flow the springs of life.”
  1. Ask myself: Did I do anything to contribute to my feelings?
  • What are my thoughts?
    • Did I play back an old tape or message?
    • Do I have memories or broken places?
    • Do I have negative beliefs about myself?
    • Am I dwelling on negative past experiences?
  • Is this feeling deeply familiar?
  • Am I judging or condemning myself?
  • Am I assuming (“mind reading”) rather than checking it out?
  • Could I have possibly misunderstood?
  • Did I draw the wrong conclusion?
  • Did I get myself all worked up?
  • Am I aware of any temptation to soothe/medicate my hurt?

Goal: Discover the role I play in the emotional intensity.


  • What do I want to do right now?
  • How do I choose to respond?
  • “If it is possible, as far as it depends upon you, live at peace with everyone.”
  1. Choose to respond.
  • Will my response create safety within me?
  • Will my response create safety for my relationship?
  • How does God want me to respond?
  • Maintain and respond with integrity.

Goal: Behave with honor and integrity.

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