365 ways to energize – a daily companion to living with health, purpose, and joy

Conflict resolution – Part 2 – Breathe 

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Day 46Three days ago I shared the first part of a communication model titled ABEAR.

I explained that in order to create connection and intimacy there are some steps that we can take to communicate better.

The first letter in the model: A – stands for the importance of Acknowledging the person and the topic brought to your attention.

B – stands for Breathe. Conflicts often fire us up, which can be noticed by that our pulse increase when we feel threatened in a conflict. Our body reacts and prepares itself to fight by turning on the adrenal glands, which increases our pulse. (Our brain mechanism does not distinguish between a dangerous animal ready to attack us, or if a person is bringing up a subject that is sensitive to us).

With this primitive reaction we lose our ability to stay in contact with the reasoning part of our brain, and this can lead to a destructive argument. We feel threatened, even though it might seem totally unreasonable from the outside to react so strongly.

When we are in affect, our ability to listen and understand the other person is reduced. If we turn frightful and or angry, it is very hard to resolve anything. We can say things that we don’t mean – things that can be hurtful and unreasonable, in our attempt to “win” the argument.

If we want to become better communicators, we need to learn to deal with sensitive issues and various topics without losing our calm.

However, this is easier said that done – as we might feel that we have no control over our emotional response.

By increasing the awareness of our emotional temperature and our body pulse, we can learn to take a time-out from a discussion, until we feel calmer and have the ability to listen and engage coolly. During the time-out, we can focus our attention on the breath, and by taking deep breaths where we allow our belly to expand; we will soon notice that our pulse will calm down. If it is hard to focus on the breath, going outside for a walk can help as well. If we need to take a time-out, it is important to share this with the other person and let him or her know when we are ready to come back to the discussion.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha

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