If you leave work on Friday and find you have a flat tire, it can be frustrating, but not much of a crisis if you don’t have important plans for the evening. If you walk out on a Monday morning and are already late for an important presentation, however, that same flat tire is a whole different issue. How we deal with events has a great deal to do with how much stress we are under. This correlation is also why conflict is much more likely to erupt in a time of stress than any other time. Here are four steps for dealing with conflict when you are under a lot of stress.
Take a deep breath
Your stress response is also called your “fight or flight” response, which means when you are under stress, you are already more primed to fight. Stress floods your system with stress hormones like adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine. When you take a deep breath, it helps to oxygenate your brain, which can also help lower some of your stress hormones. If you have the chance, a few moments of meditation with deep breathing can also supercharge your fight against your own stress hormones, helping you think more calmly and clearly.
Go for a walk
Adrenaline increases your energy, preparing you to flee or fight. If you don’t flee or fight, the adrenaline just stays in your system, heightening your stress level. Going for a quick, but brisk walk can burn off some of the adrenaline and help you calm down and relax.
Put a pin in it
When you are under stress may not be the best time to address any kind of ongoing issue. Unfortunately, when you are under stress, you are most likely to be bothered by small things, but also the least able to address them in any kind of calm, cool, and collected fashion. If you can’t get away to go on a quick walk or engage in a few moments of quiet meditation, the next best thing is to wait until you are in a better place to address any issues.
Address issues ahead of time
If your tires are worn thin, they are most likely to explode when you are traveling 60 mph down the highway – or when they are under the most stress. The same is true of you. If you deal with issues head on when you are calm, they are unlikely to erupt when you are under stress.