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How to manage conflict

With other pople in your life

A woman practicing mindfulness, by taking a breath.

1. Calm yourself

Take a deep breath and tell yourself to relax. Try to identify the emotion you are feeling.

2. Restore order

Take a time out to stop the fight and contain damage. Take three deep breaths and count to 20. If you still feel angry, ask the other person if you can meet to talk about it later.

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Two people talking.

3. Hear their stories

Say: "Help me understand your concern." Gather some information to help you empathize and see their point of view, even if you don't agree with it Listen carefully and make eye contact. Be sure to not interrupt.

4. Come up with solutions

Ask: "How can we resolve this?" This moves the conflict to a solution focus instead of an emotional focus.

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A clipboard with a map.

5. Agree on a plan

Ask: "Would this work for you?"

6. Follow through

Make sure to keep your part of the agreement to build trust and respect.

Special thanks to Lisa Laird, MA, Snow College for this information.

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