When the you-know-what hits the fan, and I’m in unexpected conflict, I often don’t respond in the best way possible. It’s far too easy for me to be thrown off guard and give off angry or defensive signals. All the while, my internal monologue is something like, “Wow, didn’t see that coming. What’s going on? What should I have done differently? What should I say now?” My mixture of what-the-heck and how’d-you-let-that-happen thinking is not helpful.

I’m improving my reaction to conflict. I’ve tried recently to stay more in the moment, and that has helped. I love this Harvard Business Review article by Diane Musho Hamilton. Her steps for mindfulness make lots of sense.

I’ve morphed this idea into four words that summarize what I try to do when there’s conflict:

Notice – Be aware of my reaction, including how my body is responding.

Curious – Don’t judge myself or others, simply observe.

Breathe – Use my breath as a means of regaining calm and composure.

Listen – I added this word because it can be easy for me to stop listening when my head is full of thoughts and feelings.

What helps you remain serene in the face of conflict? Comment below or message us here.

Photo by Christi Tobin Barrett.