A tiny snowball at the top of a mountain starts to roll down the slopes. As it rolls, it accumulates more and more snow, becoming a gigantic snowy boulder that will crush anything in its path.
Have you ever had that kind of “snowball effect” in your relationship, where many tiny annoyances soon roll into one huge argument? My guess is that you have (or you at least know someone who has). I’m also guessing that you would be happy to have fewer such “snowball” situations from now on.
The good news is that we each have personal warning signs that alert us to relationship “danger ahead.” In this podcast (5 minutes), I share an example of one of my warning signs and how knowing it kept Bruce and me out of a deep dark hole.
How to prevent a negative situation from getting worse
- Know how you feel when you’re in a negative situation — Perhaps you feel a tightness in your chest, your breathing is more rapid and shallow, or your head starts to ache. Learn what signals your body sends to tell you that something’s not right.
- Know your personal “warning signs” that danger lurks ahead — You might hear that certain tone in your voice or notice that judgmental thoughts are zooming through your mind. Become adept at recognizing that your fuse is wearing out and you’re getting close to your explosion point.
- Learn how to diffuse negative situations — You can simply stop talking, take some deep breaths before talking again, or even ask for a time out. Find effective ways to disengage your negative energy so that you can stop a downward-spiraling conversation from gaining any more momentum.
“The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.”
~ Dale Carnegie
What habits or practices do you use to keep negative situations from spiraling downward into trouble?