simone knego

Ten Strategies for Staying Calm in Conflict

Conflict is an inevitable part of life.

You may have a disagreement with a coworker.

There may be a misunderstanding with a friend.

Or you could have a heated debate with a family member.

No matter the reason, conflicts can easily escalate if not handled with care.

Remaining calm in the face of conflict is crucial for resolving issues effectively and maintaining healthy relationships.

Here are some strategies to help you stay calm during conflicts.

Practice Deep Breathing

When you find yourself in a conflict, your body’s natural response may be to tense up or react impulsively.

Deep breathing can help counteract this reaction by calming your nervous system.

Take slow, deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

Focus on your breath to center yourself and reduce anxiety.

Try counting to four as you inhale, hold your breath for a count of four, and then exhale for a count of four.

This simple technique can help you regain control and stay calm.

Listen Actively

One of the main reasons conflicts escalate is because people feel unheard or misunderstood.

Practice active listening by giving the other person your full attention.

Make eye contact.

Nod your head to show you are engaged.

Reflect back what they are saying by paraphrasing their words.

This shows that you are making an effort to understand their perspective.

For example, if someone says, “I feel like you’re not considering my ideas,” you might respond, “It sounds like you feel your ideas aren’t being taken into account.”

Take a Timeout

Timeout isn’t just for kids.

If you feel your emotions rising and you are struggling to stay calm, it might be best to take a brief timeout.

Politely excuse yourself from the situation.

Explain that you need a moment to gather your thoughts.

This break can prevent you from saying or doing something in the heat of the moment that you might regret later.

Use the timeout to do something that calms you. You could go for a walk, meditate, or listen to soothing music.

Focus on the Issue, Not the Person

In the heat of conflict, it’s easy to attack the other person’s character rather than addressing the issue at hand.

This can escalate the conflict and cause more harm.

Instead, focus on the specific behavior or situation that is causing the conflict.

Use “I” statements to express how you feel without blaming the other person.

For example, instead of saying, “You always interrupt me,” try saying, “I feel frustrated when I am interrupted during meetings because it makes me feel unheard.”

Stay Mindful of Your Body Language

Nonverbal communication plays a significant role in conflicts.

Crossing your arms, rolling your eyes, or making aggressive gestures can exacerbate the situation.

Aim to maintain open and neutral body language.

Keep your arms relaxed at your sides.

Maintain eye contact.

Avoid making defensive or confrontational gestures.

You could even practice mirroring the other person’s body language in a subtle, non-mocking way.

This can create a sense of rapport and reduce tension.

Seek Common Ground

Finding common ground can help de-escalate a conflict and pave the way for a resolution.

Look for areas where you and the other person agree—even if it’s just a small part of the larger issue.

Acknowledging these points of agreement can create a collaborative atmosphere.

It can also show that you are willing to work together.

For example, you could say, “I understand that we both want this project to be successful. Let’s discuss how we can combine our ideas to achieve the best outcome.”

Practice Empathy

Empathy involves putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and trying to understand their feelings and perspective.

By showing empathy, you demonstrate that you care about the other person’s experience.

This can help defuse anger and build trust.

For example, you could say, “I can see how this situation is frustrating for you. I appreciate you sharing your feelings with me.”

Stay Focused on Solutions

Rather than dwelling on the problem or past grievances, direct the conversation towards finding a solution.

Ask open-ended questions that encourage brainstorming and collaboration.

This approach shifts the focus from blame to problem-solving.

An example of this is saying, “What do you think we can do to prevent this issue from happening again in the future?”

Use a Calm Tone of Voice

The way you say something can be just as important as what you say.

Speaking in a calm, steady tone can help keep the conversation from escalating.

Avoid raising your voice, using sarcasm, or speaking in a condescending manner.

If you feel your voice rising, take a deep breath and consciously lower your volume.

Speaking more softly can also encourage the other person to lower their voice, reducing overall tension.

Reflect and Learn

After the conflict has been resolved, take some time to reflect on what happened.

Consider what triggered the conflict.

Reflect on how you handled it.

Determine what you could do differently next time.

Learning from each conflict can help you develop better strategies for managing future disagreements.

You could even keep a journal to document your reflections and track your progress in managing conflicts more effectively.

Patience Takes Practice

Remaining calm in the midst of conflict is a skill that takes practice and patience.

By using these strategies, you can navigate conflicts more effectively.

They will help you to maintain your composure and foster healthier, more productive relationships.

Remember, the goal is not to avoid conflict altogether but to handle it in a way that leads to understanding, resolution, and growth.

Meet Simone Knego

Simone Knego is an international speaker, award-winning author and two-time TEDx Speaker. Her work has been featured on ABC, NBC, and CBS and in Entrepreneur Magazine and Yahoo News. Her literary contributions have been honored by the National Indie Excellence Award and the NYC Big Book Award. Simone has not only summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, but she is also the heart of a bustling household with six children, three dogs, and one husband of 31 years. As the creator of the REAL Method, Simone continues to inspire and impact teams, fostering growth, and promoting self-discovery. 

free quiz

Unlock The Power Within: Reveal Your Confidence Archetype

Discover your unique confidence archetype and unlock your inner power! Take this (or my) free quiz and start your journey to feeling empowered, respected, and fulfilled today.

The Daughter Dearest Podcast

Follow Your Own Path, Discover Your Own Journey​