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Three Conflict Resolution Strategies You Need To Know

Conflict happens when two opposing parties have different views, interests, or goals, which seem incompatible with one another. Conflict usually occurs at the height of a stressful situation when everything seems to bubble over.
Typically, it’s not just related to the one event that triggered the outward showing of the conflict in the first place. For many of us, we bottle our emotions and keep them inside until we fill up with the little bits and pieces that really cause the quarrel.
Resolution can only occur when we’re able to work together to figure out what triggered the conflict in the first place. In order for the problem to be solved, we must agree on the root of the problem.
There are dozens of conflict resolution strategies, but unfortunately, no one strategy will work for every situation. The best thing to do is to pick a few and try them out to see how it works in your particular situation.
Some of these strategies may seem silly at first, but that’s okay. The funny feelings will pass and you’ll be impressed at how effective they are in resolving conflicts.
To realize the best effect from conflict resolution strategies, everyone should first agree to observe a few ground rules:
• Avoid Universal Statements. Every, all, never and always are big no-no’s in conflict resolution. Can you honestly say something always happens? No! So don’t say it.
• No Personal Attacks. Try using “I” statements instead of “you” statements. Make sure you let the person know you feel. For instance, “When you throw your clothes on the floor, it makes me feel like I’m the maid cleaning up after you.”

• Listen. When one person speaks, the other person should listen with an open heart. Rather than plan your rebuttal while the other person is talking, be sure to actually listen to what they’re saying and understand their feelings.
• Get a Moderator if Needed. If you’re still having issues, ask a friend or someone close to both of you to come over and moderate so they can keep you on track. Nothing hinders conflict resolution more than repeatedly getting sidetracked with petty details.
With the ground rules in place, let’s consider conflict resolution strategies:

  • Role-playing. Create a mock setting, such as a flower shop or a restaurant. The first person is the one taking the order and listening while the customer explains the situation. The person taking the order must listen and then repeat back the order to make sure they understand.
    • After the two parties have gone through the entire exercise, the roles are reversed. There are no comebacks to the previous arguments stated; only another order is placed and taken.
  • Knee to knee. I wouldn’t recommend this with a coworker in an office setting since it’s a bit of a personal space issue, but sitting knee to knee is a great strategy for conflict resolution.
    • Scoot two chairs close together, have a seat and start talking about the issue. Knee to knee forces you to pay attention to each other, which is one of the biggest rules in resolution.
    • Remember, the most recent events may or may not be the actual issue, so dig a little deeper.
  • Cool down. Sometimes just stepping out of the situation allows both people to cool down. One of the biggest problems with conflicts is many times, the person feels like they are being attacked, instead of focusing on the problem or situation.
    • By taking time to cool down, both parties can come back together and attack the situation instead of each other.
    • Designate an appropriate length of time to cool down. Don’t just walk away for an undetermined amount of time. Set a timer for 20 minutes, go do something else, then come back and start resolving the issue at hand. Remember to listen and get a moderator if needed.

These three techniques are great strategies for conflict resolution. If one technique doesn’t work, simply try something else. Once you’ve worked through a few issues, you’ll begin to develop your likes and dislikes for certain strategies and find out which ones suit your style.

Making Lifestyle Changes Easier

At least 90 out of 100 people would tell you that they do not enjoy change. Change is not easy because humans are creatures of habit. You want to continue living in a certain routine once you have conditioned your body and mind to function in that way. This makes you feel comfortable with your surroundings and decisions.

Even if you don’t like change, there are ways to make healthy lifestyle changes easier. There are also tools you can use to welcome change into your life, even when you’re entering new uncharted territory.

Here are 3 ways to make lifestyle changes easier for you:

1. Determine Pros and Cons. If you know you need to make changes in your life and you aren’t looking forward to doing so, you can do a simple exercise that will make the change easier to handle.

Take a sheet of paper, and on one side write “Pros,” and on the other write, “Cons.” On the corresponding side you will write the pros and the cons of the change so you can see what the benefits and drawbacks might be.

  • You may realize as you complete this exercise that the very thing holding you back is the fear of change itself.

Seeing the pros and cons will help you realize how it will benefit you to make the change. This allows you to warm up to the thought that change actually might actually be a good idea!

2. Incorporate the Change Gradually. Another way to make lifestyle changes easier is to work up to them.

For instance, if the healthy lifestyle changes that you need to make center around ceasing your habit of smoking and drinking you may not want to quit cold turkey; instead you can work up to it. Stop drinking every night with dinner, and then stop drinking for a few days at a time. You can do the same thing with smoking so that you aren’t fighting the lifestyle change.

  • Preparing yourself both physically and mentally helps you to ease the change into your daily routine.

3. Use Affirmations. Another way to help make lifestyle changes easier is to use positive affirmations. Positive affirmations are statements that encapsulate the way you would ideally think or behave.

You can either create your own affirmations or look for statements that others have created. The key is that you find an affirmation that speaks to you.

  • Words are powerful and, when you repeat the same words over time, they continue to resonate through your mind. When the words are positive you’ll find that you can tap into the positive thought anytime or anywhere.

If you’re worried about making a healthy lifestyle change, you don’t have to be. Instead, you can remind yourself why you want to change by saying something like, “Change is healthy. I do not get stuck in the same routines.” When you repeat this often enough, it becomes your response to the anxiety you feel. This makes changes easier for you to handle.

Some lifestyle changes are harder than others to become accustomed to even when we desire to make the changes. Many times just one of these tips will help you to implement the change, while other times you may need to use a variety of methods to feel at ease about the change.

Use the “pro and con” method to see the benefits. Then bring the change in gradually while you accept it through your affirmations. These techniques will help you feel confident so you can enjoy the benefits of your new lifestyle.

The Importance of Looking to the Future Rather than Dwelling on the Past

Your past shapes who you are. The experiences you have throughout your life play an integral part in how you behave and look at the world. This may not seem like a big deal, but in certain circumstances, it can become a detriment to your success.

Keeping your focus on your past can actually negatively affect things in the future. From your work life to your love life, even your day-to-day things can be affected by an inability to move past negative experiences.

Romance

It’s perfectly normal to feel sad after a breakup, and even spend some time licking your emotional wounds. However, focusing on relationships that are long over is an unhealthy way to live your life.

You can sabotage your future love life by idealizing your ex. This sets up a standard in your mind that no future romantic interests can meet. This robs you of potential opportunities for what could be even greater relationships.

Each romantic relationship, however, has something valuable you can take from it. Allow yourself to learn the lessons that the relationship teaches, then give yourself permission to move on.

Fears

Most fears are caused by prior experiences. People who are afraid of dogs usually had a bad experience with a dog. People who avoid eating certain foods likely had a really bad reaction to that food when they tried it.

While this is a rather indirect way of dwelling on the past, it can close you off to new experiences.

Forgiveness

Grudges can run deep. If a person feels that someone has wronged them, they could be hard pressed to let the person attempt to atone for their mistake.

Anger seems justified in a lot of circumstances. However, forgiveness is a major part of the healing process that can result in a tremendous restoration. People who were once alienated after a falling out can let bygones be bygones and start fresh.

Keep the Past in the Past

After a particularly negative experience, it’s human nature to put some emphasis on it. It’s important to remember that tomorrow is a brand new day. You can choose to start off with a completely blank slate.

Emotional responses are normal and grieving is a necessary process in tragic circumstances, but remaining stuck in that state is the danger. Emotional wounds begin to heal when, after a time of grieving, you move on with your life.

Take time to recover from negative experiences. However, it’s equally important that you make an effort to let bygones be bygones. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life. Keep a positive outlook, even after a bad experience. Learn the lesson that the experience offers, file it away in your mind and choose to head in a positive direction.

The past has value, and should not be discarded entirely. But once you’ve learned the lessons from the past and gotten all the benefit it offers, take what you’ve learned and use it to move forward with a positive attitude in the direction of your dreams.

Coping with Crippling Fear – When NOT to Trust Your Thoughts

Trusting your inner instincts is an important skill to learn, although there are times when your mind can play tricks on you. When your body and mind are under stress, it may be difficult to see the difference between good thoughts and those that arise from fear.

Dealing With Fear

No one enjoys dealing with fear; however, it’s a necessary part of a fulfilled life. The best line of defense is to practice remaining calm and ask for help when you need it. After all, two minds striving for a rational solution is usually better than one.

When Not To Trust Your Thoughts

Even in difficult circumstances, you probably have an idea about what is truly right or wrong. However, it’s a good idea to try to recognize the situations where you tend to have trouble thinking clearly. That way, when these situations do come up, you can start working on solutions, instead of giving into the cloudy thoughts.

You probably shouldn’t trust your thoughts in the following situations:

1. When you’re under stress – People often don’t recognize how detrimental stress can be to the mind and body. Stress can cause you to make unwise decisions and think too quickly. Stress can take over your body and produce hormones that alter your thinking patterns.

2. When you’re feeling anxious – There are varying degrees of anxiety that can affect anyone at any time. When it takes over in a strong manner, such as when you’re dealing with crippling fear, it can lead to erratic, irrational thoughts or even panic.

3. When you’re having negative thoughts – Sometimes you’ll have a bad day or even a bad week. Having a tough time can cause a negative thinking pattern that can cause you to think unreasonable or even absurd thoughts. You may start to have angry or depressing thoughts that can’t be trusted.

When you’re having thoughts that seem real, but are rather unreasonable, remember that it’s not coming from you. Rather, it’s coming from the build up and repression of years of self-doubt, negativity, stress, anxiety, or even past circumstances. That’s precisely why you cannot trust those thoughts!

Dealing With Your Feelings

You now know that negative thought patterns can arise from stress, anxiety, fear or even the past. Crippling fear, unfortunately, hurls many strongly negative feelings your way. But it’s how you deal with them and proceed with your thought patterns that make all the difference. Strive to take time to cool down and relax your mind before making important decisions.

One way to know if something is your true feeling is to wait a few days before making a decision. For example, if after a week of thinking something over, you still think the same way, then it’s probably true. Of course, you first have to ensure that your mind isn’t under attack from stress, anxiety, negativity, or fear.

Healing From Fear

If you find that you’re frequently in fearful situations, you can concentrate on healing those feelings. When your mind begins to race, take in a large dose of oxygen. Believe it or not, deep breathing is a signal for your mind to relax and think clearly. So breathe deeply and breathe often!

Also remember that you’re not alone. You have people who can help you and you shouldn’t feel shy to ask for that help. If you feel uncomfortable talking with a family member or friend, consider the help of a coach or counselor.

Just remember to avoid taking drastic actions that arise from fear. Take your time when making decisions, breathe deeply, and seek the help you need to overcome the grips of fear.

How To Accept Criticism

Criticism is a double-edged sword. On one hand it can improve you, but on the other hand, it can shatter your confidence if you allow it. Knowing how to deal with criticism is vital to improving yourself in both your professional and personal lives.

How do you feel when someone criticizes you? Maybe you’ve had someone criticize your work, effort, or personal aspects of your life. You may feel hurt or angry and you may even become defensive.

There are so many times in life when we have to deal with criticism that it’s essential to learn how to deal with it. Certainly you don’t want someone else’s opinion to prevent you from having a happy and productive life, right?

Dealing with Constructive Criticism vs. Destructive Criticism

The first step in dealing with criticism is to figure out whether it’s worth considering. Sometimes we may confuse personal attacks with criticism. They’re definitely not the same!

  • There are two kinds of criticism: constructive criticism, which is intended to help us improve and keep communication open, and destructive criticism, which is used to humiliate and control.

Whether you’re dealing with criticism in the work place, at home, or with friends, it’s essential to be able to deal with critical comments. Your feelings will inevitably be hurt, so the first thing to do is give yourself a few minutes to process the information before reacting.

  • Take some deep breaths, and determine why the criticism was delivered. Thinking before you react will help you avoid unnecessary conflict, pain, or embarrassment.

If you determine there’s no truth to the criticism, you may find it appropriate to use a technique called distracting, where you calmly acknowledge that you heard what the other person said. Don’t become defensive or upset, just acknowledge the statement and leave it at that.

  • You can acknowledge the other speaker with a general response, such as “I appreciate you sharing your opinion.” or “You might be right.” Leaving an open end doesn’t allow room for more argument. It will also put the other person at ease, and may even allow you to change the subject.

One of the hardest things to do when you’re criticized is to admit that it’s true. You don’t have to be overly apologetic. You can always say, “I’m sorry” or “It’s my mistake” and move on. By admitting fault, you’re taking ownership of the problem and you’re proving that you’re a mature adult.

Once you’ve admitted your mistake, strive to get past the barrier and heal the rift between you.

  • When communicating, strive not to use the word “but” when admitting the truth of the criticism. That puts stipulations on why you were wrong. Swallow your pride and go on.

On the other hand, if you’re not sure whether the criticism is justified or not, you may want to request more detailed feedback. This will not only help you gain more information, but also help the other person clarify the facts.

  • An example of this might be if someone tells you that your work is sloppy. By finding out their expectations, you can deliver what they’re looking for instead of fumbling around trying to figure out what “sloppy” means.

Everyone has different expectations, and a simple adjustment might be all you need to resolve the criticism.

If you take criticism too personally, you’re letting someone else be in charge of your life! Don’t let others rattle you, it’s really not worth the energy or frustration.

And remember: you can’t control others; you can only control yourself. So that means you have a choice in your response to criticism: you can ignore the criticism, use it as a motivator, or become upset and angry. The choice is yours.

Mastering Anger Management

In order to master anger management, you need to gain control over your emotions. You’ll need to get into a mindset that allows you to think before you act or speak.

If you don’t learn to control your anger, you may destroy the relationships around you and cause physical and emotional harm to everyone, including yourself.

About Anger

Anger serves an important purpose. Anger is an emotion that tells us that something is wrong. It may even help us to get out of dangerous situations, but sometimes the threats are just perceived and anger is not an appropriate emotion.

Anger itself is not the main problem here though. It may help you to try to feel less angry in some situations, but for the most part your goal should be to learn how to express yourself in a healthier way.

Here are some strategies that will help you to keep a cool head:

1. Don’t React. Think about the situations that have gotten you into trouble in the past. You likely immediately reacted to the problem at hand with angry emotions. Whenever you’re presented with a stressful situation, it’s important withhold rash reactions. Think about what’s really going on, and then decide how you really feel about everything.

2. Take Cool Down Time. You’re not always in a situation where you can take as long as you want without a reaction. If you’re feeling extremely angry, make sure you take a few moments of cool down time. Before you react, try counting to ten in order to give yourself at least a moment to get into the right mindset.

3. Don’t Worry About Others. Sometimes you feel terrible about other people’s opinions of you. When you get caught up in making everyone else happy, you end up forgetting about yourself. This is how your emotions can take control, but you can only ignore yourself for so long.

4. Start Exercising. A daily exercise routine can help you to release energy and emotions. If anger arises, you can also go out for a walk or play some sports as an outlet for that anger.

5. Don’t Hold Grudges. A grudge only hurts you in the long run. Learn the art of forgiving and forgetting. This will bring peace to you and the person you’re holding a grudge against.

6. Practice Relaxation. Anger arises more often if you’re tense and stressed. Study different relaxation techniques that will help you to unwind.

Some of these techniques include:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Taking a Bath
  • Deep Breathing
  • Listening to Music
  • Journaling

7. Learn Healthy Anger Expression. The trick is not to completely ignore your anger, but to express it in a healthy manner. After you have taken some cool down time, consider your words and communicate why you’re feeling angry in a calm fashion.

Suppressing Your Anger

You may think that you have mastered your anger, but you might actually be suppressing your anger, which could end up making everything worse.

When you suppress your anger it ends up buried deep inside and will come out in undesirable ways. You could start to feel overly stressed, you could get headaches, or you may even start to have problems with high blood pressure. Your mental health may begin to suffer as well. Suppressing anger has been known to lead to life-long problems with depression.

You should remember that if you’ve been feeling especially out of control, seek the help of a health professional.

Why Should You Get a Life Coach?

Imagine yourself with a set plan and just the right advice. Coaching may shave years off the time it would have taken you to reach your goals otherwise!

Here are the top 7 reasons why you need a life coach:

1. Builds confidence. You know you’re under the guidance of someone successful and that your goals are attainable.

2. Guided plan. Sure, you can draft up a plan by yourself, but when you write out your plans with the help of a coach, you know you’re getting a realistic plan that works! Your coach will know shortcuts and can help you stay accountable as well.

3. Conflicts. Coaches can help you cope with current conflicts and tensions in your life. They can also give you tips on how to avoid similar situations in the future.

4. Personal attention. Coaching allows you to get one on one attention so you can be personally guided along your chosen path. If you run into struggles, your coach will be there to provide much needed support and suggestions.

5. Dealing with challenges. Things will not always go according to plan. When you hit a snag, your coach can help you overcome the challenge and steer you back into the correct direction. You can feel comfortable knowing that you’re receiving expert guidance.

6. Versatility. You can decide how you’d like to use your coach. Do you want help with short-term goals or long-term goals? Perhaps you’d like both.

7. Enthusiasm. Your coach likely has a great deal of enthusiasm for their work, which will naturally rub off on you. Sometimes it may be difficult to keep up your drive, but thankfully, inspiration is one of the main reasons why coaches exist.

If you need some help, I am here.

#LetsGetIt

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