How to Argue Without Being Emotional

Interview Carol Barkes

Carol Barkes is a trend-setting mediator, business executive and educator specializing in the use of neuroscience to improve business performance, interpersonal communications, negotiation and conflict resolution processes for optimally successful results.


Talking Points From Carol Barkes On
How to Argue Without Being Emotional:

When someone cries during a difficult conversation, it is due to a release of chemicals that activates the limbic system of their brain. This part of the brain is where our freeze, fight, or flight response is generated. The tears are just one physiological symptom of this system being activated. Others include getting red (on our chest, neck, and/or face), shaking, raised voice, talking faster, closed body language (a defense mechanism), increased blink rate, etc.

There are several ways to calm these reactions:

  • Take a break and walk around. Oxygen is great for the brain during these moments.

  • Think about something else. It takes roughly 90 seconds for the first wave of chemicals to work through our noggin. Continual reaction means we are continuing to think about the same thing.

  • Tell yourself a different story. Our emotions come from the story we tell ourselves. This is why somethings will bother one person and have no impact on another. Telling yourself a different story will help your brain create a different emotional response.

  • Don’t judge yourself. Our brains have developed over thousands of years of evolution to keep us alive, so that we can pass our genes on to another generation. Our responses have served us well. While crying can feel embarrassing, it will have less of an impact if we realize that it is just our brain’s way of releasing tension.

  • Yawn. This is one of the fastest ways to get oxygen to our brains and lower our stress responses. Fake yawning 3–5 times will typically generate real yawns.

  • Tapping. There is an area on the side of our hand (right below our pinky finger). If we tap on this part of our hand with the four fingers of our other hand, it has a calming effect that is pretty amazing. It is related to the meridians of acupressure and  acupuncture. This is one technique from a larger field of practice called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

Understanding the reasons behind these natural physical and emotional responses, and learning how to cope with them, will have a positive effect on the outcome of any verbal conflict.



Available for Interviews: Carol Barkes


Jo Allison
PR Managing Editor
Success In Media, Inc.

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