Relationship Conflict – 4th of 10 ways to be real

I’m excited to share number 4 of our “10 ways to be real in spite of conflict.” This next step is not only necessary, but will take practice to master! Before I explain, let’s review the first three ways.

  1. Realize that resolving conflict is healthy and necessary for growth.
  2. Be curious about differences rather than demand, judge, or criticize differences.
  3. Ask permission of the other to respectfully address the conflict.

Review these first three points often. For most of us this way of thinking doesn’t come naturally. Write these first three points down on a 3 x 5 card and post them on your mirror or refrigerator to read and absorb in your mind. Change in thoughts, attitudes or behaviors usually don’t happen by osmosis.

Here is number four in our quest to be real in spite of conflict. It’s important to be aware of your body. Do you know when your face gets red before someone says to you, “you look embarrased?” Some of us may get red splotches on the neck. Or our hands may get sweaty. Did you know that these are spontaneous reactions coming from a designated part of your brain?

The brain stem controls automatic responses in your body such as heart rate, blood pressure, adrenaline flow, and many other chemicals flowing through your blood stream. We would be totally unable to function if we had to consciously think of all those involuntary bodily functions.

When you begin to feel reactions of anger or defensiveness, take 4 deep breaths and wait 90 seconds before responding. Breathe in deeply from the diaphragm (counting to 4) and slowly breathe out (counting to 6 or 8) like you’re breathing through a straw.

Why four deep breathes? If you do at least four of these and take 90 seconds, you will slow down the reptilian, part of your brain.  God wired our brains in such a way to perceive the difference between real or imaginary danger. We need to honor our own brain physiology. It takes 90 seconds for the neurotransmitters to travel between the brian stem (automatic) and the frontal cortex (reasoning) parts to respond like a human rather than a reptile!

Deep, slow breathing when triggered doesn’t come natural to us as humans. We certainly have the ability.

I encourage you to practice, practice, practice while in your calm state of being. If you do this first thing in the morning before your day starts, you’ll be amazed how effective it can be when you use it during a conflicting time with your loved one.

In the next blog, I’ll address #5 in “Ways to be Real in Spite of Conflict.

In the meantime, let me know how this works for you. I’m glad to keep your comments private or post publically as you prefer.