Health Risks Associated with Conflict

Couple in a conflict

In many cases, people who choose to avoid conflict are glad that the conflict is over and they do not have to deal with it. However, this is not always the case. The conflict may have been avoided, but some people remain in a constant state of inner conflict about the situation. As they continue to bury their feelings, they develop hidden anger - is anger that is recognized or is expressed in a harmful way. On the outside, the person may appear as if nothing is wrong but on the inside (s)he may be very angry and hostile. Hostility is a feeling of ill will and antagonism.

People who choose conflict confrontation show outward signs of hostility and aggression and often are passive-aggressive – is the appearance of being cooperative and pleasant on the outside while feeling angry and hostile. People who are hostile have a high risk of developing severe, life-threatening illnesses because their bodies are in a constant state of emergency. They may experience increased heart and respiration rates and are more likely to have headaches, stomachaches, restlessness, sleeplessness, irritability, and heart and respiratory diseases.

10 tips for a healthy conflict resolution

It is possible for people to change their way of responding to conflict and learn conflict resolution skills. A guiding principle of conflict resolution is the concept of win-win.
  1. Remain calm: It very important, if the parties are not calm, have a time-out before proceeding.
  2. Set the tone for the communication to be positive: Separate the person from the problem.
  3. Define the conflict: It is important to do this in writing so that both parties can be heard in full.
  4. Take responsibility for personal actions: Both parties should recognize what (s)he may have done, and apologize.
  5. Use I-massages to express needs and feelings: When expressing feelings rather than calling each other’s names, it is easier to work out the problem and reach a win-win solution.
  6. Listen to the needs and feelings of others: Do not interrupt or judge the other party when expressing his or her feelings.
  7. List and evaluate possible solutions: Brainstorm as many solutions as possible to resolve the conflict. Solution should result in actions that are healthful, safe, legal, show respect for all involved and be nonviolent.
  8. Agree on a solution: The solution may be put in writing so that the agreement can be viewed later.
  9. Follow the agreement: Good faith is important in conflict resolution. Both should agree genuinely to do what they way they will do.
  10. Ask for the assistance of a trusted adult or obtain peer mediation if the conflict cannot be resolved. 
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