How To Keep Calm When Conflict Strikes

Posted on November 28, 2017

Photo: pexels

You're trying to get out the door by a certain time, but your teenager is adamant they will take their time in the bathroom.

A colleague at work questions your decision.

Or your friend...

Or your spouse.

Conflict is just part and parcel of life. While some try to avoid it at all costs, there are others who embrace and perhaps even create it, simply because they relish the back and forth. Whatever your relationship with conflict is, love or hate, it is important that you know how to deal with it in a healthy way. This essentially means, neither running away from it, nor perpetuating it. Instead, it is about using the conflict as a tool to bring about a better conclusion for all the parties involved.

With that being said, navigating conflict is not an easy task. And this is why, having all the tools you need to deal with it is extremely crucial. Conflict is inevitable, yes, it is impossible to agree with everyone all the time about everything, yes. But that does not make the animosity or anger that arises out of it as a result, any more bearable. It IS possible to resolve conflict quickly, calmly and effectively.

Here are 6 mindful approaches you can use when finding yourself on the cusp of a conflict:

1. Take Deep Breaths
Having the capacity to remain relaxed and focused in tense situations is a crucial aspect of conflict resolution. Practicing deep breathing is one of the best ways to quickly relieve stress as the smooth and rhythmic breathing stops the production of the cortisol and adrenaline.

2. Focus on Your Body
Concentrating on the physical sensations that rise in your body will allow you to begin mindfully changing them. Actively neutralizing your posture - relaxing your shoulders and opening your hands - will make you appear more open through your body language. Body language is communication without words and can play a part in diffusing confrontation.

3. Actively Listen
To truly settle a dispute, it is essential to listen carefully to what is being said. Many a time, we pay attention just so that we can retaliate. That isn't really listening at all. If you truly listen to someone, it can help you truly understand the problem and at the same time, diffuse their anger when they know that they are truly being heard.

4. Ask Questions
To avoid making the other person defensive, you can use open-ended questions. To also avoid argumentative responses, asking questions that invite them to speak honestly would be good. With this questioning style, they will know that you want to be able to figure out some facts in order to reach a solution.

5. Consciously Lower Your Voice
It might be often that we find it tempting to raise our voice. However, shouting will only make yourself and the other party angrier. (An interesting fact: When a person's heartbeat exceeds 100bmp, they are incapable of fully understanding what is being said to them.) Lowering your voice will instill a sense of calm and go a long way in trying to reach a solution.

6. Let Go
If reaching an agreement is not possible, be willing to agree to disagree. If the conflict is going nowhere, it would be wise to choose to disengage and move on. It takes two hands to clap; two people to keep an argument going. If a resolution cannot be reached, you will do better to exit the confrontation.

With that being said, not every confrontation can or will end positively. But with the use of these techniques, dealing with conflict rather than avoiding it will be made possible.

Category(s):Anger Management, Other

Source material from Waters Edge Counselling