SO much better than well-meaning reassurance.
The best conflict resolution and communication skills in the world are little use if we can't access them when we need them most. Self-mastery is about being able to think clearly, respond nimbly, and maintain our equilibrium in the face of difficult and stressful interactions. The following articles offer self-mastery insights from my 20+ years in the field as a mediator and the latest research from psychology, neuroscience and related fields. Use them in your own quest for self-mastery and for helping others.
Anger is a signal, not a defect.
There’s a difference between being justified in your response and the response being a good choice. Here’s a question I’ve found useful for gaining a little psychological distance in the heat of the moment and interrupting a response I might regret later.
I’ve written that anger is a messenger that won’t shut up until its message is heard and understood. But if the anger is so big or so loud you can’t hear straight, there are things you can do to help someone calm down. And a few things you shouldn’t do…like these five missteps.
Conflict can rob you of two precious mental faculties useful for sorting things out: The ability to view the situation from the other person’s perspective and the ability to check your impulses. New research suggests that your future self can help you recapture those abilities.
During conflict, focusing mostly on anger’s behavior instead of on anger’s real message is like burying the lede in a news story.
When you’re stuck on a problem or feeling angry, briefly distancing yourself psychologically from the current circumstances can give you emotional relief and actually help you solve the problem. Here are four simple and potent ways to gain psychological distance (and help others do the same) when you’re spinning your wheels in a conflict conversation.
The brain’s working memory appears to be very limited and conflict places a lot of demand on that already-restricted capacity. But there are ways to reduce cognitive load during conflict resolution and free up the working memory needed for concentration, reasoning and good decision making.