6 Way to Manage Conflict
When you put people together in a home, a school, a friendship or a neighborhood, it seems natural that some sort of conflict will follow. After all, by nature, we humans like to get our own way and we can get a little persnickety when we don’t get it.
In its online dictionary, Merriam-Webster defines conflict as “a struggle for power, property” and “strong disagreement between people, groups, etc., those results in often angry argument.” Some sort of conflict in our lives may be unavoidable, but the stress that results from avoiding it or not handling it appropriately is avoidable.
So why do we often find ways to not deal with the conflict in our lives? Some of us may pretend a problem doesn’t bother us, hoping it will go away. We try to handle the annoyance of the conflict rather than risk the personal fall-out that might occur if we confront it. The trouble is, by ignoring a source of conflict, we often make it worse.
Our bodies doesn’t distinguish between physical and psychological threats, so when you are stressed over a conflict with a friend or co-worker , your body can react just as strongly as if you were facing an emergency situation. If you have a lot of conflict in your life, your body’s emergency stress response
is “on” most of the time. According to the American Psychological Association, long-term stress can cause serious health problems, including increased blood pressure, a suppressed immune system, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, and increased vulnerability to anxiety and depression.
Avoiding conflict resolution also can damage the relationships we have with others. When handled effectively, however, conflicts can help us build stronger and healthier relationships. Let’s look at the steps we can take to managing conflicts in our relationships:
Take time to assess the situation
Set up a time to talk, ideally face to face.
Listen to what the other person is saying.