5 Ways to Handle Conflict

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

This past year has been one filled with challenges and changes, and personal and professional relationships are being reshaped and redefined. People can deal with emotions in contentious and erratic ways, merely because of underlying fear and uncertainty. In the midst of uncharted waters, conflict and stress can often occur. The good news is that there are healthy ways to cope with conflict, particularly in times of high stress.

Conflict can escalate when each side keeps fueling anger while projecting blame and harsh words. When we are in a state of anger, it prohibits us from processing the full picture. We can solve problems without getting fired up. In reality, we are better at problem solving when we are calm. Here are the top five things you can do when you find yourself in a contentious situation:

1. Pause

2. Take a deep breath

3. Say, “I’m going to take a minute to myself” and find some private space

4. Take 30 more deep breaths

5. Name at least three things you’re grateful for

Gratitude sounds like an odd practice when you're angry or frustrated, but it can be really affective in changing your mindset. Especially if small things are building up or bothering you, take a moment to focus on the three things you're thankful for. Notice you feel after these five steps. Remember that you can always talk about issues rather than act out of anger. You are ultimately in control of your actions and words, so commit to a problem solving mindset instead of combative one. This can lead to resolving conflict in a calmer, more amicable way and avoid escalation.

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