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Mental Health Blog

Conflict Resolution Skills

Categories: Relationship

Grand Junction Marriage CounselingThe ability to successfully developing conflict resolution skills depends on four key skills. Together, these four skills form a fifth skill that is greater than the sum of its parts: the ability to take conflict in stride and resolve differences in ways that build trust and confidence.

Conflict resolution skill 1: Quickly relieve stress

The capacity to remain relaxed and focused in tense situations is a vital aspect of conflict  resolution. If you don’t know how to stay centered and in control of yourself, you may become  emotionally overwhelmed in challenging situations. The best way to rapidly and reliably relieve  stress is through the senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. But each person responds differently to sensory input, so you need to find things that are soothing to you.

Conflict resolution skill 2: Recognize and manage your emotions.

Emotional awareness is the key to understanding yourself and others. If you don’t know how  you feel or why you feel that way, you won’t be able to communicate effectively or smooth over  disagreements. Although knowing your own feelings may seem simple, many people ignore or try to sedate strong emotions like anger, sadness, and fear. But your ability to handle conflict  depends on being connected to these feelings. If you’re afraid of strong emotions or if you insist  on finding solutions that are strictly rational, your ability to face and resolve differences will be impaired.

Conflict resolution skill 3: Improve your nonverbal communication skills

The most important information exchanged during conflicts and arguments is often  communicated nonverbally. Nonverbal communication includes eye contact, facial expression, tone of voice, posture, touch, and gestures. When you’re in the middle of a conflict, paying  close attention to the other person’s nonverbal signals may help you figure out what the other  person is really saying, respond in a way that builds trust, and get to the root of the problem. Simply nonverbal signals such as a calm tone of voice, a reassuring touch, or a concerned facial  expression can go a long way toward defusing a heated exchange.

Conflict resolution skill 4: Use humor and play to deal with challenges

You can avoid many confrontations and resolve arguments and disagreements by  communicating in a playful or humorous way. Humor can help you say things that might  otherwise be difficult to express without creating a flap. However, it’s important that you laugh with the other person, not at them. When humor and play are used to reduce tension and anger, reframe problems, and put the situation into perspective, the conflict can actually become an  opportunity for greater connection and intimacy.

Tips for managing and resolving conflict

Tips for managing and resolving conflict Managing and resolving conflict requires emotional maturity, self-­control, and empathy. It can  be tricky, frustrating, and even frightening. You can ensure that the process is as positive as possible by sticking to the following conflict resolution guidelines:

  • Make the relationship your priority. Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than “winning” the argument, should always be your first priority. Be respectful of the  other person and his or her viewpoint.
  • Focus on the present. If you’re holding on to old hurts and resentments, your ability to see the reality of the current situation will be impaired. Rather than looking to the past and  assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the here­and­now to solve the problem.
  • Pick your battles. Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue  is really worthy of your time and energy. Maybe you don’t want to surrender a parking space  if you’ve been circling for 15 minutes. But if there are dozens of spots, arguing over a single  space isn’t worth it.
  • Be willing to forgive. Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to  forgive. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.
  • Know when to let something go. If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It  takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose  to disengage and move on.
Author: Kevin Leapley

Kevin Leapley is the director of sexual addiction counseling at Front Range Counseling Center in Denver Colorado. Kevin has been certified as a sexual addiction therapist under the training of Dr. Patrick Carnes.

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