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Nonverbal communication and conflict resolution

Quick stress relief

Being able to manage and relieve stress in the moment is the key to staying balanced, focused, and in control, no matter what challenges you face. If you don’t know how to stay centered and in control of yourself, you will become overwhelmed in conflict situations and unable to respond in healthy ways.

Psychologist Connie Lillas uses a driving analogy to describe the three most common ways people respond when they’re overwhelmed by stress:

Foot on the gas. An angry or agitated stress response. You’re heated, keyed up, overly emotional, and unable to sit still.

Foot on the brake. A withdrawn or depressed stress response. You shut down, space out, and show very little energy or emotion.

Foot on both gas and brake. A tense and frozen stress response. You “freeze” under pressure and can’t do anything. You look paralyzed, but under the surface you’re extremely agitated.

Stress interferes with the ability to resolve conflict by limiting your ability to:

  • Accurately read another person’s nonverbal communication
  • Hear what someone is really saying
  • Be aware of your own feelings
  • Be in touch with your deep-rooted needs
  • Communicate your needs clearly