Posts Tagged ‘mental clarity’

5 steps to stop conflict in its tracks

Monday, June 26th, 2017

You don’t have to be psychic to know when there’s conflict brewing.

There are some rare occasions when an argument or altercation arises out of nowhere. Most of the time, however, we have a sense that we’re not seeing eye-to-eye with someone a long time before the situation erupts.

A crystal ball: You don't have to be psychic to stop conflict in its tracksLittle niggles and irritations can easily mount up, especially when it’s someone you spend a significant chunk of your time with. A member of your team you work with daily is likely to rile you more quickly than that irritating person you only encounter at a quarterly meeting. (If it’s someone you share living space with, things are likely to come to a head even faster.)

Most of us don’t enjoy conflict, so despite our best intentions we tend to ignore our intuition when it comes to preventing it. We might decide to ignore it, hide the way we're feeling, or hope the person will change. Or we take the opposite tack, and decide we’ll approach it “head on”, reasoning that things need to come to a head so that we can “clear the air” by telling them directly what we'd like them to change.

The truth is, neither of those paths is satisfactory when it comes to effectively preventing or resolving conflict. There are far more effective ways to address conflict before it escalates – here are five steps you might want to consider to make that process flow a little easier.

1. Listen to your gut

If you have a sense that someone’s frustrating you, pay attention to it. You’re probably not hiding your feelings as well as you think and once you’re beginning to experience irritation with someone, you’ll almost certainly be giving off subtle indications that can exacerbate things.

Notice your physical response: do you feel tongue-tied, sweaty-palmed, or does your pulse race when you speak to them? Sometimes it’s just a feeling that you want to avoid talking to someone, or a sense that there’s “something going on” under the surface of your interactions. Take note – and be ready to start taking action.

2. Identify the issue

What’s at the crux of the matter? A general feeling of annoyance can feel hard to take action on. So a powerful place to start might be by asking yourself how you’d like the other person to change their behaviour. Maybe you feel as though they’re patronising you, acting more helpless than they seem, or being outright confrontational.

Is there something in their attitude that’s frustrating, or a specific behaviour you’d like them to change? Do you feel angry, resentful or upset when you interact with them?

3. Be Honest

Deciding that the other person’s just unreasonable, putting it down to a ‘personality clash’ or burying your head in the sand isn’t the answer to preventing things from getting worse. We might think we're hiding our feelings well, but most of the time the other person will sense that something's getting in the way of clear communication. Perhaps it's inconsistency, when we're submissive one day and assertive the next. Or it might be subtle signals unconsciously demonstrating that we're not connecting with their message, or respecting how they communicate.

The Spiral of Disempowerment® shows us that a breakdown in communication can easily deteriorate further. So try to be honest with yourself about how you feel, including everything that you've experienced.

4. Do the work

Knowing what it is you’d like to change opens up opportunities for you to reflect on how that need is showing up for you. We know that our ‘stories’ – our version of events – frame situations and can actually trigger the behaviour we’re trying to avoid. (That might sound counter-intuitive, but when we're immersed in our feelings, tiny changes in our attitude have a surprisingly big impact on the people we are seeking to change.)

So ask yourself how you're being in this interaction, and consider how you can take a different approach. It's important to remember that this isn't just about what you do, but about how you're showing up, so know that if you're feeling resentful, angry, intimidated, irritated, hurt, manipulated, shut down etc. it will be sensed on some level by the other person, no matter how well you think you are hiding it. The good news is, you don't need the other person to change in order for you to feel differently.

5. Move towards being at Peace

Being at Peace means returning to your natural, effortless, best self – without the headspace that's taken up by your ideas of what you'd like to change about the other person. It’s this transformation that will bring you the clarity, peace and calmness to be your best self, and can completely turn relationships around before they become outright conflict. In our War to Peace® workshop you'll experience the simple process you can use again and again to move out of conflict before it starts, and enjoy greater influence, clarity and productivity as a result.

It’s very natural to want to avoid conflict, or alternatively to feel as though things need to “come to a head” before we make changes. But being aware of how you are being before direct conflict arises is a much saner and smarter way to manage your relationships. In business, you’ll avoid derailing interactions at an inopportune moment. And, personally, you might be surprised, once you've worked on your own internal dialogue, how little you need the other person to change in order for you to have an easier relationship.

Over to you

  • Is there someone you avoid talking to when you can, or who you find yourself running over conversations with in your head after you’ve talked to them? Maybe you’ve found yourself offloading to a mutual acquaintance, seeking support from someone else who finds them difficult? It's great you've noticed this. Know this is a sign that you have been / are being triggered by this person, and means that you are allowing them to influence you to move away from being your best self.
  • Where are the “trouble spots” in how you are being, whether at work or at home? If you're struggling to answer this, just notice and firstly write down all your labels / thoughts about them. Then be honest with yourself about your feelings and external behaviours e.g. I feel resentful, I feel hurt, I feel angry, I withdraw, I get aggressive, I pretend I'm okay when I'm not, my tone of voice changes when I speak to them, I feel 'on edge', I can't find the right words, I try to out-smart them, I feel intimidated etc.
  • Consider new, more helpful labels for the people you're struggling with. What other labels could you give them or their behaviour (in your head or on paper) that would bring out the best in you? e.g. if you view them as over-critical of you, you could choose to see them as someone who cares about you (even though you find the way they are currently communicating this triggering); if you see them as "irritating" you could choose to see them as someone who is helping you to develop the skill of patience. Start experimenting with these labels to see how you can bring out the best in you when you next interact with them.

Need a hand? Or know someone who does?

Our next War to Peace® workshop takes place in October. These public events only run twice a year at the moment so if you’re interested in gaining the skills to manage all kinds of relationships, don’t wait to book your place. Click here for full details and to grab your spotPlease note, we have just 5 spaces left.

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You don't have to be psychic to know when conflict's brewing. 5 steps to stop it in its tracks, via @HalcyonGlobal



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©Halcyon Global 2017

Photo Credit: Christian Schnettelker/Flickr

Do you need a clear head?

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Are you feeling under pressure? Does it sometimes feel like your head is going to explode with the number of thoughts and tasks racing through it?

You are not alone. It is very common for the mind to become so full of our thinking that we struggle to have any mental clarity or peace of mind. This makes decision-making seem ever more urgent, yet ever more difficult. It leads to exhaustion, yet often results in a lack of sleep, as the mind whirs and leaves us unable to fall to sleep or suddenly wide awake in the middle of the night.

Head explode by Pat Gaines

Photo by Pat Gaines

Pressure from the boss, pressure from your spouse, pressure from your kids, pressure from your finances. It all feels very real, and for many people, until they have insight about the true nature of our experience, they are left in a place of mental overwhelm, often warring with themselves and with others.

David's story

"Before I experienced War to Peace, I was in conflict with my boss and I couldn't stand the sight of her. She was unfair, she didn't listen to me and she just kept piling the pressure on me. I was stressed and when I got home, I took it out on my wife and kids, which left me feeling terrible and led me to hating my boss further. I felt like I'd tried everything, but nothing made a difference and it was even affecting my ability to sleep at night.

I was pretty skeptical about a workshop called "War to Peace" and wondered what on earth it could achieve in just one day. I was very pleasantly surprised. Aside from learning how to quickly change how I felt, which is a resource I now draw on regularly, I gained insight about the nature of my thinking and how I was the person creating my experience at work.

That's not to say that things became different over night or that my boss is a changed woman, but what I have found is that I am experiencing her differently. I have more understanding of her motivations, because I realised that by being at War with her, I couldn't listen and wasn't interested in what was going on for her. Even though I often don't agree with the way she handles things, learning to be at Peace with her has allowed me to have much more clarity at work and I take things less personally. And though my workload hasn't changed, I don't feel anything like the pressure I felt before the workshop. Best of all, the constant mental whirring has stopped and I can be present and enjoy my family when I get home."

There's more good news

There is no pressure in life. At all. Ever. Even when it feels like it. It is all self-created through thought. How we think about something determines our experience of it. Unless we have a thought about something, there is no feeling; it is not in our consciousness. As soon as we have this realisation, we see that all that 'pressure' out there is only as real as we make it in our thinking.

With this realisation, that we are the creator of all our experiences, all this unnecessary thinking tends to fall away. We realise it is us who is doing it to ourselves (not the circumstances or people outside of us) and it's no longer required. In the space that opens up, where worry and anxiety once resided, new thinking, ideas, creativity and clarity come forth.

Accessing your mental clarity easily

If you ask around, you’ll probably find that people will tell you that their best ideas or solutions to a problem happened: "when I was in the shower", "when I was on the golf course", "whilst I was driving".  They were all doing anything but looking at the problem or situation that needed addressing.

Realising that we are the creator of our experience provides us with the power to minimise the time we spend feeling anxious, stressed or hard done by. We can become the observer of our state of mind, rather than the victim of our negative feelings.

Over to you

  • Begin noticing your warring, stressful thoughts - and stop listening to them. We do not have control over what comes into our head, but we can still see that they are just thoughts, nothing more or less.
  • Instead of trying to change your thoughts (or fix your circumstances or the person you’re finding difficult), just become an impassive observer of your thoughts. For example, you might observe yourself in this way “oh there I go again blaming my boss (family member, neighbour, ­­­­______ fill in your own blank) for how I'm feeling.” Or “Ah - I’m having those stressful thoughts again. Glad I noticed those and caught them before they fooled me into believing them.”

Give it a go, remember not to take your warring, stressful thoughts too seriously and do let us know how you get on.

Do you know someone who could benefit from War to Peace?

If you know someone who would benefit from learning how to become more clear-headed, resourceful and achieve the relationships they want with their family, colleagues and friends, we are running our next open-access War to Peace workshop in London on 7 October (just 5 spaces remaining). To book a space, click here.

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    “Do you need a clear head?"


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©Halcyon Global 2016