How to Resolve Conflict and Relieve Stress Now
Life is such that we often come into conflict with each other.
It can be in our places of work with colleagues, at home with family, or even with strangers in the streets, for example, after an accident.
Conflict is also part and parcel of any growing relationship. Of course, some people - including those we work with - are just quarrelsome and seem to thrive in hostilities.
Now, conflicts can be stressful yet you certainly can’t avoid them entirely.
And so instead of wilting under stress, you should try to fix such disputes.
The following tips can help you resolve conflict and relieve stress.
10 Steps you can take to Resolve Conflict and Relieve Stress Now
01 Resolve Conflict by Speaking Out
A lot of times, peace comes from your tongue. Sure, you may fear that talking to your antagonist may make you look foolish or worsen the situation but oftentimes, this is not the case. In fact, in some instances, your adversary is usually remorseful and looking for an opportunity to say sorry after the pain they have caused. Speaking out is therefore a wise decision. As a matter of fact, it won’t cost you anything so it’s better to try rather than keep silent and watch as matters deteriorate.
02 Face your Guilt
Sometimes we are guilty of causing our own troubles through acts of commissions or omissions. Take, our partners, for instance. It could be that you’re well aware that they dislike being criticized in public. But you still fire some cheap shots at them during an extended family gathering and end up embarrassing them in front of people who otherwise respect them. In such a case, the blame lies squarely with you and you can’t blame them if they fight back. The easiest way to escape the recurrence of the inevitable wars is for you to you confront your weaknesses and cut them out of your life.
03 Learn to Compromise When you Have Disagreements
If your disagreement comes from trivial matters like which TV channel to watch, be ready to make a deal.
For example, you can both agree to share TV time in the evening. You can also develop interest in your partner’s favorite TV program and make an effort to co-watch. Similarly, if it’s at work, be civilized and accommodate the demands of others, where necessary. You will not only look flexible but also friendly in the eyes of your archrival.
Additionally, this can give a positive impression even to your bosses, probably boosting your future promotion prospects (They might start viewing you as a leader).
04 Practice Emotional Intelligence to Reach a Compromise
Of the many conflict resolution skills that I was taught at college, this is the one I find very effective. I know you’re wondering what emotional intelligence is. Well, it’s the capacity to recognize, control, and express your emotions soberly, no matter the situation. Maybe, he/she was acting that way because they felt misunderstood so try to put yourself in your opponent shoes.
Then, once you ‘feel’ their pain, act with empathy and compassion in your utterances and behavior.
In short, understanding the feelings of everyone engaged in a conflict (and reigning in on our feelings) can be the first step towards regaining internal harmony.
05 Forgive and Forget (if possible)
To be honest, this is not easy. Sometimes the hurt is too much and we are justified to feel that our foes don’t deserve an iota of forgiveness. I mean, where do you even start forgiving an unfaithful spouse or a friend who has been talking rubbish behind your back? It’s a tough call, but if you consider the torment that continue consuming our hearts once we recall the episode, it’s better that you try to forget about it completely.
Through forgiving, you come to terms with whatever happened and give yourself a fresh beginning.
06 Offer a Positive Solution
Countless times, bitterness arises because of frustrations with a pending conundrum. Perhaps you’ve been assigned too high a target that you start fighting amongst yourselves. Or you’re squabbling because your sweetheart feels annoyed that they’re not able to contribute to your joint budget after being fired.
It could even be that your family is pulling apart because of debt…the challenges are endless.
In such a case, you should figure out the various potential ways that can fix the dilemma and share it with those concerned.
Take it from me.
If you have win-win ideas, chances are that your woes will forever cease now that the source of your confrontations has been eliminated.
07 Involve a Mediator
If you’re finding it difficult to approach your nemesis directly, use an intermediary (agreeable to your rival) to initiate talk.
And here you have to act smart.
- Inject humor into your discussions. This dilutes the frustration that often results from differences.
- Admit that you were wrong.
- Clear the air and also point out the areas you feel you were wronged.
- Listen carefully before you talk.
- Respect the decision of the arbitrator- even if it sounds unfair (you want closure not to win the argument).
- Use facts and not baseless arguments to support your points.
08 Do your Opponent a Favor
The Benjamin Franklin effect, a famous psychological phenomenon shows that you’re likely to like someone more seriously after you do them a favor.
The phenomena is so named since Benjamin- one of America’s founding fathers who won the goodwill of his fierce rival after borrowing a book from him.
When returning the book, Benjamin inserted a Thank-you note. This seemingly thoroughly impressed his erstwhile enemy who immediately become his best friend.
You can use the same principle to send love to your enemy and effectively thaw your chilly relations.
09 Don't Seek Revenge
If you find yourself in an awkward position, like where a colleague is all over you with abuse and obscenities, try your best not to seek revenge.
As I had mentioned, some of our coworkers and family prosper in chaos and will not a waste a chance to provoke you.
And so reacting only helps give them pleasure and a sense of ‘mission accomplished’.
In fact, one of the best skills for conflict resolution is to stay calm.
It’s not only a sign of your maturity but will also ensure that you don’t do something that you come to regret later.
10 Stop Trying to Hard!
You ought to try your best to restore tranquility but don’t overdo things.
To begin with, try too hard to make something work can be painful if the other party ignores your hard work.
Secondly, you may not find fulfillment even after eventually succeeding since you will be emotionally drained.
Thirdly, if you’re not true to yourself, the other person may realize that you’re too eager to impress and may keep taking advantage of you.
Conflict Resolutions Principles
I will now show you some steps you can follow when implementing the conflict resolution techniques we have discussed above.
Identify why you are fighting, that is the real problem. This will drive your next agenda.
Ask questions. Is it just an isolated incident or something which has been recurring? Then, could it be that it’s the outcome of some other teething issues simmering behind the scenes? And if so, which issues are these?
Propose solutions/methodologies. Here you brainstorm on how best to approach the dispute. Is it using a third party? Can you talk directly? What are the repercussions of each method?
Act. Call your opponent(s) to the table or schedule a meeting through your appointed go-between. Make sure you’re reading from the same page before progressing and that your rivals are comfortable.
Solve it by adopting whatever method you both find appropriate. You can even shake hands to mark the beginning of ceasefire.
Additionally, consent on the way forward to prevent future conflicts if possible.
Conflict Resolution Principles for Reducing Stress
Reducing stress with conflict resolution is usually easier if you keep the following in mind:
- Don’t take the face-off personally.
- Select your battles carefully as some things may be too petty to wrestle over.
- Maintain your composure throughout an argument and don’t let the heat of the moment cloud your thinking.
- Always strategize (Plan what to say and when) before participating in a confrontation. It immensely boosts your chances of getting your desired outcome.
- Have alternative game plans in case your plan ‘A’ fails.
- Watch out for obvious provocations and avoid falling for them.
- Request for time outs if you feel that the discussion is heading nowhere or matters have become extremely heated.
- Be a peacemaker and extend an olive branch to your rivals whenever an opening arises.
- Use courteous language, mannerism, and honesty all through.
- Change to a different scenery or environment if you have registered little luck in getting a resolution so far from your present location.
Conflict can be caused by absolutely minor issues such as personal interests, social opinions, mannerisms, and even gossip.
Regardless, it can cause you heartache and make your days very stressful.
For this reason, running away from conflict may not be the best of solution.
Instead, take in heads on by observing some of the conflict resolution principles we have spoken about in this post.
I know it’s not easy, but trust me, you’ll be glad you gave it a try.