Breathing Through Conflict
It happens to all of us. Some situation in which we find ourselves seems to spiral out of control, with tensions and emotional energy increasing in intensity. Perhaps you're in a meeting, and conflict arises. Maybe you're working on a project and suddenly there's a problem going on. Or maybe you've found a mistake on your grocery receipt and the customer service staff do not want to help you.
If you've been learning and applying NLP for any length of time, you've probably learned about rapport. One of the techniques for gaining and maintaining rapport is to notice and match the breathing rate of the person with whom you wish to be in rapport. But what happens when the situation is changing so rapidly that anything short of instant rapport will not suffice? What if there are multiple players with whom it's difficult to gain rapport? What if you're dealing with someone who seems to always take the opposite direction to which you're trying to lead?
One tactic I would suggest is simply "holding the center". Nothing too mystical here - just watch your own breathing and maintain it. Keep it nice and slow and easy. As you breathe, you might notice that it slows down on its own slightly and some of the tension in your mind and body can be let go. Your own stress levels diminish, and you are more able to see the way out of your situation.
Check your posture - tension in the shoulders, back, and neck can aggravate a tense situation and might even encourage you to escalate the conflict rather than tone things down.
An image I like to use is standing in the center of the hurricane. The thing is, you're not an island that's stationary and about to be pummeled by the other side of the eye. No, you are a moving column that has your own spin, and by being flexible yet holding fast to the center of all that stormy activity, perhaps you can slow the winds over time and diminish the conflict. The winds are calm in the eye of the storm. Breathe and maintain that calm. Perhaps rapport can come after that.
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