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Bring More Peace Into Your Life with Jeremy Pollack – Tip 22: Manage Your Emotions

This week’s conflict resolution tip is about the importance of managing your emotions.

This is an extremely important topic to consider when thinking about how to effectively engage in conflict resolution, especially when dealing with escalated situations. When considering how to engage in emotional self-regulation, it is crucial to first recognize our triggers. Asking ourselves, “What kinds of situations tend to trigger me?” is one way of doing this.

Next, when we encounter these situations, engaging in analysis of the truth of the threat is helpful. This means asking ourselves, “Am I really under threat?” Getting clarity on whether the perceived threat can really inhibit our needs and goals is important.

In addition to these tools, there are a couple of practices that we can utilize when we feel triggered:

    1. Focusing on your breath: This is a form of mindfulness training that is all about becoming aware of this moment through awareness of your breath without judgement. This tends to slow down the mind, activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Counting your breaths can lead to a similar effect as well.
    2. Mindful Speech: This is also a form of mindfulness but focuses on speech instead of breath. Instead of talking fast, try to slow down your speech, focusing on annunciating each word clearly. Like focusing on your breath, this activates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping you get out of fight-or-flight-mode.
    3. Cognitive Reframing: We can call this practice “soothing.” If we are feeling like things are out of control, telling ourselves that everything is ok, that we are safe, and whatever else we need to hear is what cognitive reframing is all about. This can help de-escalate your own emotions internally.
    4. Accept your Emotions: Practice what it feels like to accept your emotions rather than resisting them. When we resist our feelings, we can create a lot of conflict both internally and externally. Instead of resisting, if we can accept without judgement that our emotions are a part of us, we can better be at peace with those emotions. For example, someone who is afraid to have a difficult conversation with a friend may want to resist the feeling of fear and may engage in fight or flight mode in that conversation. But, if this person can accept that fear is only natural, they can be more at peace with fear when it arises in the conversation.

If you want to bring more peace into your life, consider utilizing these techniques to manage your emotions in triggering situations.


Jeremy Pollack

Jeremy Pollack is an anthropologist and conflict resolution consultant in Silicon Valley, but regularly travels between my San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles offices. He focuses on the psychology, social dynamics, and peacebuilding methodologies of interpersonal and intergroup conflicts. MORE >

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