Rosie Acosta is a E-RYT Yoga Teacher, Yoga Teacher Trainer + Wellness Consultant, a Holistic Health Coach, as well as the founder of Radically Loved: Yoga, Health + Wellness and Host of Radically Loved Radio. Rosie is an expert at helping her students cultivate a life of mindfulness, presence, and intention.
10 Steps for Mindful Conflict Resolution
- Always pause — When a conflict arises, avoid lashing out. Take a moment to breathe slowly and notice the air coming into and going out of your lungs and belly. Allow the simple act of focusing on your breath to ground you in the present moment.
- Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling — Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions. Is your mind racing with angry thoughts? Do you feel hurt or embarrassed? Just notice these. Thoughts and emotions are natural. They will settle if you don’t react to them.
- Do a brief — Notice the physical sensations that arise with your thoughts and emotions. Are you clenching your jaw? Are you tightening your fists, ready to hit something? Are your leg muscles twitching, urging you to flee? Notice any muscle tension from your toes to the top of your head.
- Settle into your breath — As you breathe, you will notice a pause at the end of each out breath before you breathe in again. During this pause, relax, and soften your muscles. Keep doing this for a few minutes, relaxing deeper and deeper into each pause.
- Acknowledge that you have space to choose — Accept that you are upset and don’t fight it. You could even say aloud, “I am upset.” Choose to be patient with yourself. If, however, your emotions feel too strong to investigate, acknowledge your difficulty and move away from the troubling situation. You can choose to return to the issue when you are calmer.
- Challenge your assumptions — Be open-minded to the views of others involved in the conflict. Don’t assume you know where people’s ideas come from or how other people are feeling. Challenge yourself to ask open-ended questions so that you can truly understand their perspective.
- Avoid negative speech — Name-calling is never helpful. Instead, explain your point of view clearly and acknowledge the viewpoints of others.
- Suggest a resolution — Stick to the point of the conflict and suggest one or more ways to resolve it. Calmly discuss the pros and cons of each suggestion.
- Move forward — Agree to try a resolution without resentment. And when you move forward with a suggestion, give it your full effort.
- Forgive —Holding onto anger and resentment only hurts us and burdens relationships. Forgive yourself and others for being different and having an argument, and accept the idea that by learning to resolve conflict, we grow as people.
Taking these ten mindfulness steps may not guarantee the outcome of a particular argument, but by practicing them regularly, you can build your sense of confidence, well-being, and acceptance of challenging situations. These skills will serve you when you feel angry or divided as well as model resilient and positive examples of conflict resolution for our kids.