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Stimulate positive emotions to resolve conflicts

Posted Nov 07 2008 2:20pm

Mental health professionals have discovered an important principal that should be used when attempting to resolve conflicts or settle disputes with others. Simply put, conflicts can resolved more successfully when reason and emotion are taken into account. To try to solve an emotional issue with logic alone is often very ineffective and frustrating.  We are emotional beings by nature and to ignore the emotional underpinnings of a disagreement is a mistake often made by individuals, couples, and employers.

According to experts Daniel Shapiro and Roger Fisher at the Harvard International Negociation Initiative, to resolve conflict people should focus on core concerns rather than raw emotions themelves. Doing this shifts emotions into a more positive, productive direction.

Probably the mst important of the core concern is that of appreciation.   Appreciation encompasses the desire to be understood and valued. Expressing appreciation involves finding the merit in another person’s point of view. Research by the marital researcher Dr. John Gottman showed that it was possible to predict which newlyweds would divorce within six years by observing their interaction and expression of appreciation of the other during the first three minutes of a 15-minute argument.

Other core conerns that show you are dealing with the other person’s emotions include affiliation, autonomy, status and role. Affiliation involves somehow both getting on the same side of the issue - becoming allies instead of adversaries.  Autonomy is important ebcause conflicts often develop when people feel that they weren’t adequately involved in a decision that directly affected them. Status makes one person feel superior over the other one and works against resolving a conflict because the less superior person often feels diminished or resentful. Try to equalize the status by asking the other person for advice or ask them to expres their viewpoint.Convey in words and body language that everyone involved in solving a conflict has something valuable to offer, regardless of title or rank. Role means that we empower people as listeners, facilitators, or problem solvers, depending on the conflict and the situation.
Taking emotional concerns and issues into account will go a long way toward helping you resolve conflicts with other human beings. For more information on anger management and conflict resolution, visit our webiste at www.angercoach.com. 

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