What not to say: “Calm down”, “Relax”, “Chill”

Also don’t say: “Don’t be so sensitive.” “You’re overreacting.” One of the worst things you can do is to tell someone how to feel. Telling someone to calm down is like saying that their emotional response to a situation is somehow wrong or invalid.

They have the right to feel – and express – any emotion they experience without judgment, criticism, or outside interpretation.

The situation may seem trivial to you, but to them it is real. It may be that the situation triggered a hard memory, or that they see the situation differently from you.

Their feelings are real emotions that require recognition and understanding. Validate their feelings whether you think they are overreacting or not.
Help your spouse feel like they can trust you with their emotions; Validating and acknowledging their feelings gets to the root of the problem more quickly so they can actually start to calm down. Telling them how to feel just slows things down.

At some point (either right then or later), you might ask what triggered that strong reaction.

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