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In a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review, mediator Diane Musho Hamilton, shared tips for how people can regain composure when emotions run high in conflict. Hamilton, who is also a Zen Buddhist instructor and author of Everything is Workable: A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution, recommends several steps for calming the brain. These steps are particularly important in conflict because when we experience strong negative emotions we can become very agitated and lose our ability to consciously use constructive approaches to resolve differences.

Four Simple Steps for Calming Your Brain

Hamilton’s steps include staying present – being aware in the moment, letting go of the story – releasing your interpretation of the situation that is upsetting you, focusing on the body – being aware of the somatic reactions you are experiencing as a result of your emotional upheaval, and breathing.

This latter point is particularly important. Hamilton notes that by using smooth, rhythmic breaths causes our stress hormones to drop and we will be able regain composure. By using these steps it is possible to transform negative emotions to more positive ones and help regain composure.

Read entire Harvard Business Review article here.