No matter how much meditation and personal development work has been done, arguments, misunderstanding and disconnect are inevitable in committed partnerships. The good news is that there are fun and playful tools available to navigate arguments that can almost instantly transform a tense environment.
Make a playful pact before an argument occurs.
It’s important to talk with your partner about strategies that you can use during a conflict before they occur.
Play and laughter are one of the fastest and most effective ways to instantly shift anger and conflict into more harmonious energy.
Physiologically, arguments can result in an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, and stimulate the release of stress hormones including cortisol, and epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) which increases tension in the body. Anger and other emotions that arise during an argument also trigger a flight or fight response in the body which can make it nearly impossible to have a calm, loving and rational conversation with your beloved.
Laughter however completely counteracts this fight or flight stress response by decreasing stress hormones, and stimulating the release of feel good, healthy endorphins in the body. It also can reduce blood pressure and heart rate.
Laughter can be an antidote and natural cure for arguments. To avoid reactivity, blaming, and hurtful words, it’s important to create a solid foundation for healthy communication to be able to get to a resolution.
How do you incorporate play and laughter into your relationship during a tense moment?
It can be easier than you might imagine. Just as our bodies require a variety of foods and nutrients to stay healthy and balanced, each individual conflict may require a different strategy to solve it. Sometimes you may need to take space from your partner, and revisit the conflict at a future time. Other times you may need to sage the house, open all the windows and play calming music to shift the energy in your space. You may need to journal or even schedule an appointment with a couple’s therapist. Another strategy that can be incredibly fun and effective is using play and laughter.
Role-play is a simple strategy to end arguments incorporating play and laughter.
When triggered, emotionally charged words can break trust and leave a lasting negative impact. What if there was a way to express your emotions without words? One way to do that is through role play. There are many ways to use role play to diffuse an argument. Remember to discuss this with your partner prior to using the strategy to ensure you are both on the same page.
Here’s a few ideas to implement this playful strategy.
Cat Fight, Anyone?
Decide on a animal persona that you and your partner can take on during an argument such as a cat. When tension arises and an argument begins to brew, use your cat claws and hissing sounds, and have a pretend cat fight. You may want to practice prior to an argument. Discuss avoiding physical contact as well so that the cat scratches don’t turn violent, especially if you are angry.
The simple act of a playful cat fight, can sometimes trigger a laugh, smile, or a shift in energy that can regulate your emotions to help with creating a healthy environment for effective and loving communication to occur.
Another idea is to take on a robot persona like R2-D2 from Star Wars. Use robot sounds and movements (no words). One important element in choosing your role play persona is to avoid using words and instead express your feelings and emotions using sound and movement to prevent any hurtful words.
After shifting the energy between you and your partner, you can then decide, from a healthy state, what is needed for closure. You could either let go entirely of the topic that caused the tension and agree to move on. Or you could choose to enter into a conversation from a more present, compassionate, and heart-centered space.
Lastly, remember to have fun!
- Victoria State Government. (1999/2020).Anger — how it affects people.Better Health Channel. Retrieved October 23, 2020, from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/anger-how-it-affects-people
- University of St. Augustine. (November 2019). How Laughter Can Relieve Stress + Ideas to Laugh it Off. Retrieved October 23, 2020, from https://www.usa.edu/blog/how-laughter-can-relieve-stress/