Guidance Counsellor Lori Ash » Solving Conflicts

Solving Conflicts

Everyone has to deal with conflict at some point in time.  You may have conflict with a parent, sibling, co-worker, friend, and so on.  It is best to learn how to manage the big emotions that pop up- such as anger, disappointment, frustration, sadness - in a healthy way so that relationships with your family members and friends are not destroyed.  Below are ways to cope strategies to handle the big emotions that arise from conflict and how to handle the conflict itself.
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Handling Big Emotions
     Managing your own emotions when the conflict happens is the first step.  When we are feeling upset, angry, frustrated, we are not thinking clearly to try to solve the conflict.  Our brains are using the amygdala when our big emotions take over.  This part of the brain responds in an emergency and our flight, fight, or freeze response takes over.  When in a conflict with someone else our brain sees that as a threat and goes into fight, flight, or freeze.  Our brains are not able to think clearly.  It is our job to calm down this part of brain and switch over to use the prefrontal cortex.  This part of the brain lets us think through the problem and come up with ways to solve the problem.
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There are many ways to calm your brain down.  You need to find out what will work for you.  Here are a few examples of what you can do:
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What does taking deep breaths have to do with emotions?  Taking deep breaths naturally brings down your heart rate syncing it to your breath.  Your brain releases endorphins which have a calming effect.  Calming down your brain helps move your brain from using the amygdala to the prefrontal cortex where you can think through the problem more easily.
Solving Conflicts
     Once you are in the prefrontal cortex of your brain you are able to work with the other person to solve the conflict.  It is best that each person has a chance to state their side, their perspective on the situation.  Use "I messages" to say how you are feeling.  Together come up with solutions and pick the one that both people can agree on. 
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