Managing your emotions is such a sensitive subject. We all been through conflictual situations in the workplace and it was never pleasant.
I rearely saw an employee or manager handling the conflict in a positive way, without overreacting. Most of us overreact when our authority is challenged and tend to be overwhelmed by emotions ,
I read recently an interesting article about how to handle emotions. The article was based on the book written by Diane Musho Hamilton, an internationally recognized mediator and facilitator and the author of Everything is Workable: A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution.
She described four simple steps that she tried herself, based on mindfulness practice:
Step 1: Stay present.
Try to notice any particular body and behavior cues like tone of your voice, gripping sensations in the belly, or a sudden desire to withdraw.
According to the author, each of us has particular bodily and behavioral cues that alert us to the reality that we feel threatened, and are therefore running on automatic pilot”.
It takes time and patience to really notice the sensations in your body. You have to decide to stay put and present, to be curious and explore the experience.
Step 2: Let go of the story.
When you feel threatened, the mind will immediately fuel you with negative thoughts, memories of past experiences.
The author recommends to ” completely let go of the thinking and judging mind. We must be willing to forget the story, just for a minute, because there is a feedback loop between our thoughts and our body. If the negative thoughts persist, so do the stress hormones. It isn’t that we’re wrong, but we will be more far more clear in our perceptions when the nervous system has relaxed”
Step 3: Focus on the body.
This step is about focusing on feeling and exploring whatever sensations arise in our body, without trying to control or change them.
Step 4: Breathe
Breath has a calming effect on your body. In this situation, you need to breathe rhythmically, meaning that “the in-breath and out-breath occur repeatedly at the same intervals”.
“So if we inhale, counting 1, 2, 3, and 4, and then exhale, counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, then inhale again, counting 1, 2, 3, and 4, and then exhale again, counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6; this establishes a rhythm.”
Also, the volume of the breath stays consistent as it moves in and out,” like sipping liquid through a narrow straw”
Try these two breathing techniques just for few minutes. The breath will assist us in remaining present.
Further on, the author mentions that “paying attention to our body re-establishes equilibrium faster, restoring our ability to think, to listen, and relate. This takes practice, but eventually, we retrain ourselves to respond rather than to react. Anger becomes clarity and resolve, sadness leads to compassion, jealousy becomes fuel for change”
Minfulness is a daily practice . Takes time and patience .
In my opinion, the best person to guide you in this practice is Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., founder-director of the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts. On his official website, www.mindfulnessc.com, you will find more information about him and his work.
I recommend you also to read his book, “Wherever you go, there you are“, to understand more about the mindfulness concept and practice. See also his guided meditations CD’s, to assist you in your daily practice.
Please feel free to share your own experience, things that you tried to do when you felt overwhelmed.