How to Successfully Navigate Conflict and Control Your Emotions
Here’s your quick 4-step plan on staying calm in a crisis, whether that’s an argument, a disagreement, or feeling upset somewhere you shouldn’t be (such as work, social engagements, and such) and walking away from it with a successful outcome;
1. Step Away. Take a step back from the situation, and take a deep breath. This can mean mentally trying to look at the larger picture, or physically taking some space away from the situation. Take a few deep breaths and try to focus on the movement of your lungs and abdomen.
2. Pinpoint the emotions. During conflict, we sometimes get confused as to what our emotions actually are. It’s not your fault because emotions are quite tricky. Normally, we can pick up on anger very easily. It would be a disservice to yourself, however, to let anger lead the way and guide your actions. Try to figure out what is buried beneath the anger, if that’s your usual go-to emotion in a difficult situation. Are you hurt? Confused? Sad? Terrified? Labeling the emotion can bring clarity to understanding your own reaction, and this will help with the next few steps.
3. What’s the end game? Figure out what your goal is and say it back to yourself in one short sentence. Re-evaluate the situation from a purely logical and strategic viewpoint. What do you want out of this? How do you want to walk away from this? What’s the goal here? Try to separate the emotions from the logical thoughts. You’re already aware of what your emotional mind might be telling you to do, but now you must identify what your rational mind has to say.
4. Communicate. Take another couple deep breaths and figure out what you need to communicate to whom, and how. This is when you consider both your emotional and rational mind-states, and come to an agreement between the two. Remember, communicating effectively, with I-statements when possible, will always lead to a better resolution, and if not that, you will feel better about your own behaviour walking away.
Remember, you are in control. Also, please keep in mind this is a basic guide to remaining calm in a difficult situation. If you are struggling with controlling your emotions, coming up with effective solutions, or becoming overwhelmed by your emotions, please seek professional help.
Check out the video below for a quick breathing-focused meditation to relieve stress.