In the heat of an argument with a loved one, emotions run high, and tensions can escalate quickly. It's during these moments of heightened conflict that our nervous systems can become particularly agitated, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and distressed. However, even in the midst of disagreement and discord, there are powerful tools and coping strategies we can use to calm ourselves.

In this blog post, we'll delve into 50 effective ways to soothe your nervous system specifically when you're upset during an argument with a loved one. From simple grounding exercises to mindfulness techniques and self-care rituals, these strategies offer a diverse array of options for finding peace and equilibrium in the midst of relational conflict. These techniques can help you de-escalate a heated exchange and navigate difficult emotions with compassion.

50 Coping Strategies & Ways to Soothe Your Nervous System When You're Upset:

  1. Take a break from technology, noise, anything agitating
  2. Dance (for 1 minute or more)
  3. Stretch
  4. Walk (especially barefoot and in nature)
  5. Sit and rock back/forth in sunlight (wear sunblock)
  6. Jump on a rebounder or trampoline
  7. Yoga
  8. Pilates
  9. Wall Push-Ups
  10. Tapping alternate sides of your body
  11. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  12. Box Breathing
  13. 5-7-8 Breathing
  14. Hug yourself (while rocking or rubbing upper arms)
  15. Massage your hands or feet
  16. Apply a face mask
  17. Hum or chant
  18. Sing
  19. Yawn
  20. Gargle water
  21. Splash cold water on face
  22. Suck on ice cubes or sour candy
  23. Put hands or feet in cold water
  24. Take a cold shower
  25. Do a cold plunge (only for the brave!)
  26. Wrap yourself in a weighted blanket
  27. Take a nap
  28. Listen to music (especially Weightless by Marconi Union)
  29. Watch some funny videos
  30. Remember a funny story and have a laugh
  31. Savor something delicious
  32. Journal (sit and write about whatever is bothering you)
  33. Do a Guided Meditation
  34. Practice mindfulness
  35. Do a Grounding Exercise
  36. Do a Gratitude Exercise
  37. Visualize (vividly remember) pleasant memories or experiences
  38. Chat with a loved one
  39. Pet your cat/dog/bird/llama
  40. Think about something you're looking forward to
  41. Do something creative - paint, knit, doodle
  42. Write a letter to a friend
  43. Organize 1 drawer in your home
  44. Organize 1 box in your closet or garage
  45. Work in your garden (something repetitive, like raking, picking up leaves)
  46. Engage in aromatherapy (use essential oils or scented candle)
  47. Use a stress ball or squeeze a soft object
  48. Play with a fidget spinner or fidget toy
  49. Practice self-compassion by speaking kindly to yourself
  50. Read a loving card that your partner gave you


I recommend experimenting with the different techniques listed above and then selecting your top 3 strategies to use next time you're dysregulated. We need to remind ourselves that feelings are like waves: they come, they crash in on us, they start to fade away. Our goal is to tolerate the crash as best we can and to help ourselves stay afloat during the process. My hope is that these strategies will help you do just that!




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