Remember to BREATHE:
B- Breathe. Actually, take a breath. Slow things down and use that moment to think. Mirror neurons in the brain are stronger than you think. That’s why conflict escalates rapidly once a series of events unfold. A deep inhale can give your brain a moment to switch from the fight/ flight/ freeze mode to re-engage your executive function and make cool calm decisions if a sticky topic comes up.
R- 3 Rs. Resist. Regulate. Remember. Resist the bait. Resist the drama. Resist losing control. Regulate your emotions and responses by silently reciting a mantra (“I’ve got this!). Remember who you are to help you ground yourself and consider how you want to be remembered in this moment.
E- Engage in a positive way. Find common ground and stay there. If you know a certain topic will set you or the person you are with off, don’t take that path. Try to avoid landmines.
A- Accept a person’s reality. The old “yes and” technique from improv. This pillar of improvisation suggests that we should accept what a person has stated and then add to it by expanding. How? If someone says the sky is purple. You would say “YES, AND it is also blue.” Of course, this is not always possible especially if there is a fundamental difference. The goal here is to understand that you can disagree with some without using the words “I disagree” and this is a tool to keep the conversation going.
T- Test the waters. If you want to switch topics in a conversation, especially if you are exploring unchartered territories or if you know fairly certain that a specific topic may trigger certain emotions. Test the waters by asking a broad question that’s not targeted at the person with whom you are speaking. Instead of asking how Brian feels about “x”. Say “I heard a lot of people have mixed feelings about ‘x’”. That way you give Brian a choice as to whether he wants to disclose how he feels or to remain silent on where he stands.
H- Hear the person. Really listen to what they are saying and try to separate the person from the problem. How to ensure that you’re hearing them? When they are done speaking, give them a short summary of what they said and then check in to confirm you heard them correctly.
E- Enjoy the time and company spent with another person. 2020 has been exceptionally hard and many families and friend circles will have an empty chair at their table for a variety of reasons. If you have an opportunity to spend time with someone else, whether electronically or in person. Value that time, use it wisely, and try to enjoy yourself.
Please follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube at @breakthroughadr to share how you used the tips and view our daily tips. Subscribe to our YouTube channel (Breakthrough ADR) and podcast (Breakthrough Barriers with Damali) to get tips on a variety of situations. Visit our website www.breakthroughadr.com to work with us!!