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  • What are your daily hasslesIn our daily lives, we often encounter stress and do not recognize it for what it actually is or give ourselves the space to manage it effectively. Stress can be triggered by overwhelming work and life responsibilities. When left un-managed, stress can affect the interactions between family members and friends creating unnecessary tensions and conflict. For example, have you found yourself lashing out at a loved one, and not sure why? Or come home from work, school, or even a shopping trip in a foul mood? You may be experiencing stress or anxiety. Stress can produce psychological reactions like nervousness, worrying, frustration, and other negative emotions such as anger, sadness, and loneliness.

    I recently started an argument with a family member, not because it was warranted, but because I let the stress of the day get to me. One evening after working and attending evening classes I received a call from my cousin who was excited to discuss travel arrangements for an upcoming trip. When I answered the phone, I was short and barely listened to her. Sensing this, she asked what was wrong. At the time I was not aware why I was behaving that way. In fact, I was actually excited about the upcoming trip, but my psychological reaction to the stressors I had experienced that day overrode the excitement

    Stresses that are regularly occurring in our day-to-day lives are called daily hassles. Professor and researcher, Richard S. Lazarus grouped the daily hassles as follows:
    • Household hassles: cooking, cleaning, household upkeep, and shopping
    • Health hassles: illness, concerns regarding health care and medicine
    • Time-pressure hassles: not enough time in the day to get all responsibilities done
    • Inner-core hassles: loneliness
    • Environmental hassles: crime, traffic, living arrangements
    • Financial responsibility hassles: money concerns
    • Work hassles: conflict with co-workers and job dissatisfaction
    • Future security hassles: concerns regarding retirement, taxes, and the economy

    In reflection, I had experienced environmental hassles from the daily commute from work to school and time-pressure hassles. During the day I was concerned about making it to class on time, I was worried about the work I left at the office, and struggled to find time to eat dinner. So when I arrived home all I wanted to do was relax, get something to eat, and then go to sleep. Instead of recognizing the daily hassles I had experienced that day, I unconsciously projected my frustrations on to my cousin.

    Next time you have a negative reaction to a family member, friend or co-worker ask yourself: How many daily hassles have I experienced today? Are these hassles temporary or permanent? You may also listen to the podcast on the Texas Conflict Coach® by Brady Mikusko called Stress Reduction Using EFT – At Work or Home to learn tools to handle stress and reduce negative emotions to prevent future and unnecessary conflicts.

    By Tracy Culbreath
    Graduate Student, University of Baltimore – Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

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  • Blog 8 picFamily conflict is a disagreement between one or more persons within a family unit. This type of conflict can occur between siblings, parents, parents/children, etc.  A little conflict between loved ones is not totally bad.  Conflict can bring along understanding and open the door for much needed conversations.  It is only when conflict goes unresolved that it becomes damaging to oneself and those around them.

    Family conflicts can result from something small as a parent asking a child to perform their chores to something larger like divorce.  Other family conflicts may consist of jealously between siblings, death of a family member, loss of a job, disagreements over money, etc.  Conflict within the family may become difficult and raise many emotions and tensions.   Not all conflict is handled the same way. Every person handles and deals with conflict in a very different way. For example, a spouse that lost a job may take the frustration out on a family member instead of using the energy to find another job opportunity.  Whereas another, might not bring the conflict into the family but instead experience inner conflict.  For most of us, family is our number one priority. The question becomes how does one deal with family conflict to ensure it is handled properly and does not end up unresolved or escalating with damaging results?

    There are several ways to mitigate family conflict.  The following are five of ten tips Pattie Porter discusses during her segment on the Texas Conflict Blog Talk Radio entitled Top 10 List…Strategies for Constructive Conflict Engagement:

    1- Be prepared – reflect on what you might do that triggers the other person

    2- Check your attitude- have an open mind

    3- Start on the right foot- approach the family member with an invitation to talk. This allows the person to prepare for the conversation

    4- Set Boundaries-set ground rules before having the conversation

    5- Listen Deeply – focus fully on what person is saying. Do not add your own commentary therefore dismissing their experiences

    It is my hope that these tips along with others can help you with your family conflict.

    By Yvette Watson Jenkins

    Graduate Student, University of Baltimore – Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

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  • When parties are involved in conflict knowledge is power. You may ask, what do I mean by that? By being aware of the various resources and tools that are available, I am better equip to navigate through the conflict process. In my previous blog, Conflict is an Opportunity I addressed the three stages of conflict: before, during, and after. I discussed a conflict that I had with a colleague regarding an e-mail correspondence that was not received well. Although it was resolved, what would have happened if it did not reach a resolution? What if we started harboring resentment and acting out our frustrations? Perhaps the other party goes to human resources and complains that now they are in a hostile work environment and the conflict escalates from there.You have options

    An option to prevent this negative conflict spiral is to try Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR offers various techniques for resolving conflict outside of legal action. A form of ADR that may be appropriate for my e-mail dispute is mediation. The mediation process involves two or more parties, who meet with a third party that has no stake in the outcome of the mediation. They are neutral or impartial to the conflict.  During the mediation process, the mediator is overseeing the conversation between myself and my co-worker to enable us to better communicate, understand one another, and help us identify our interests and options for resolving the dispute.

    There are various resources available to try mediation. Some organizations have mediation programs to mediate workplace conflicts, and some communities have community mediation centers that offer mediation to local residents. You may also locate a private practitioner by using this search directory.

    If you are interested in trying mediation or are curious about what questions to  ask a potential mediator listen to the Texas Conflict Coach® podcast by Louise Phipps Senft from Louise Phipps Senft and Associates, and founder of the Baltimore Mediation Center.  You may also listen to the podcast by Cordell Wesselink. Wesselink is the ADR Programs Director from Community Boards, the oldest community mediation center in the country.  If you have an unresolved conflict that is festering, I encourage you to try ADR.

    By Tracy Culbreath

    Graduate Student, University of Baltimore – Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

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Welcome to Texas Conflict Coach®. I am your host Pattie Porter, conflict resolution expert, mediator, conflict coach, facilitator and speaker. - Read More

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