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Do You Have a Conflict Habit?

by Stephanie West Allen
December 2015

Neuroscience and Conflict Resolution Blog by Stephanie West Allen

Stephanie West Allen

 When a person affirms his or her deepest values, the process of conflict resolution can be easier, and often quicker. In fact, most other activities can be facilitated by affirming your values (what is called self-affirmation), whether it be running, or recharging, or writing.

However, for many of us, our habits can get in the way. We all have seen clients, friends, colleagues, and, yes, ourselves repeatedly or automatically default to a conflict mode. And, at the extreme, are behaviors such as addiction to indignation, a state that makes the resolution of a dispute very difficult. As we have discussed here before and as I talk about in my programs, those habitual behaviors, even the most extreme, can be changed and self-affirmation plays an essential role in that change. 

Here's an overview of a recent talk by neuroscientist Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz in which he talks about habit and self-affirmation. I highly recommend reading it as a good review. Click to read "The neuroscience of habit with Dr Jeffrey Schwartz" now. He talks about the helpful role of mindfulness, too:

Jeffrey says that when you practice mindfulness, you become aware of all the nonsense going on in your mind. You can then use this observation to make judgments about what you will allow to play out in your life.

“The brain is passive, the mind is active. The mind is the choices and decisions you make. You have to use the brain and the mind as a team. The brain puts out the call, the mind decides whether to listen.”

 

Biography


Stephanie West Allen, JD, practiced law in California for several years, held offices in local bar associations, and wrote chapters for California Continuing Education of the Bar. While in CA, Stephanie completed several five-day mediation training programs with the Center for Mediation in Law, as well as a two-year intensive with Center co-founder Gary Friedman. She has been a mediator for over two and one-half decades.

She is the author of Triversity Fantasy — Seven Keys To Unlock Prejudice, Creating Your Own Funeral or Memorial Service: A Workbook and many articles on workplace and professional issues for such publications as Lawyer Hiring and Training Report, Colorado Nurse, The Complete Lawyer, National Law Journal, Of Counsel, Law Practice and Denver Business Journal.



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