Conflict can arise in every area of our lives. It is the greatest cause of stress in relationships at home and in the workplace. It can be very hard for us to resolve if we feel we are being treated unfairly, we are not being heard, or the situation is not under our control. The result is that we get angry, afraid, insecure and defensive. None of these will help us resolve the conflict and regain control.
The good news is that the situation is under our control, because what happens is not as important as how we choose to respond. Now that may sound far to simple, and if you are feeling angry, frustrated and overwhelmed right now then I urge you to read on. Because gaining control over any given situation, is more about gaining control of your emotions than changing the situation.
I’d like to take you through an exercise that will demonstrate how you can achieve this:
Observe your emotions for a moment; how do you feel, how stressed are you? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being feeling like you can’t cope, and 1 being relaxed, how would you rate your emotions right now?
Is there one particular issue that is causing your stress?
How long has this particular issue been around?
How much is it affecting your ability to think clearly and deal with everything else in your life?
How big a priority is dealing with this issue?
Are you happy with the amount of time or energy you have put in to resolving it?
If this issue was resolved how much more “thinking space” would you have for other more pleasurable things?
How much of your thinking around this problem is emotional and how much is rational?
What are the rational thoughts you have around this issue?
Following only the rational thoughts, think of how you could make them come into play in dealing with this issue.
What is one small step you can now take toward finding resoulution?
Having answered these questions, on a scale of 1 – 10 how do you rate your emotional state of mind right now.
In most cases I would expect that your stress has been downgraded. If not it may be that you need to re-do the exercise but really focus on the questions, don’t get side tracked by any internal dialogue you may be having.
If you noticed that your stress seemed to decrease then you might also see that this exercise was successful in giving you back some sense of control over your immediate situation.