Almost every family has some sort of long-standing argument and with the nationwide pandemic we have all been experiencing, people are more frequently on the “edge of their seats,” with emotions high and fuses sometimes a bit short. But some very simple steps can help you to lower your stress levels, especially when you find yourself involved in that long-standing family argument.
Yes, all of us over a certain age remember being told to “count to 10”. Turns out, this is great advice. There is a reason there is the Breathe app on the Apple Watch. Taking just one minute to focus on your breathing can reduce your heart rate and blood pressure. It can also allow you a moment to collect your thoughts. Everyone processes information at a different pace. At a recent mediation, one of our clients felt overwhelmed by the information that was presented to her. She took a few moments to breathe deeply and afterward, she reported that she was in a much better position to process the information she was receiving.
But don’t listen to respond. Listen to understand. Work on hearing what the other party is saying. Then respond to them by repeating what they have said so that you can ensure you are understanding. Use phrases such as, “what I hear you saying is…” and “am I understanding you…”.
3. Focus on Feelings
All conflict resolution involves tempers and opinions that run hotter than normal. But by listening to their feelings, you can better respond to their needs. After all, when people convey feelings, they are also conveying their needs, and by understanding their needs, we can better move the conflict forward towards a resolution.
4. Step Away
Don’t be afraid to say that you need to step away for a few moments. It isn’t that you are stopping the conversation, it is that you need time to process and, if necessary, lower the heart rate and tempers of the parties. Take 20 minutes. Get some fresh air. Meditate. Breathe. When you resume the conversation, you will be better prepared to move forward.
5. Remember, words matter
While experiencing conflict, our first reaction is to defend ourselves. After all, we are right in our…