Keeping Our Cool With Our Loved Ones

Strategies for remaining calm when someone we love is experiencing intense emotions

Jillian Enright
Published in
4 min readJan 6, 2022


Photo by Ravi Pinisetti on Unsplash

Have a plan

Have a plan ahead of time, one you’ve come up with when you’re calm, ready for those moments when you feel the frustration rising.

Notice patterns that arise. Identify particular issues that regularly seem to trigger conflict and develop plans for avoiding, mitigating, or working through them as appropriate.

If you notice particular patterns of communication it can help to even have a script, or particular phrases you wish to use, prepared in advance. When we have a plan we’ve come up with while calm, it gives us something to fall back on when emotions begin to rise.

Develop calming strategies

We are more able to tolerate stress when we start from a place of calm. One way we can do this is through the old cliché “self care”. I don’t mean going for a massage or taking a bath (unless that truly is what helps you), I mean little things you can do every day to replenish yourself.

For me, my daily acts of self care are:

  • Hugging my son
  • A cup (or 3) of coffee
  • Reading books
  • Getting outside for fresh air & sunshine
  • Petting my dogs
  • Writing
  • Listening to music

Don’t wait until you feel stressed to make time for your favourite self-care routines, make them a priority every day. You never know when life will throw you a curve-ball, so it’s wise to have some emotional resources stock-piled.

Keep tools visible

When we’re upset, we’re much less likely to remember and turn to those acts that help us calm rising emotions. It’s helpful to keep some options visible and easily accessible for moments when they are needed most.

I keep my noise-cancelling headphones on the coffee table within easy reach, and we have full bookshelves on nearly every wall of our house, so that’s never an issue.



Jillian Enright

She/they. Neurodivergent, 20+ yrs SW & Psych. experience. I write about mental health, neurodiversity, education, and parenting. Founder of Neurodiversity MB.