Questions to keep you calm during conflicts

Most of us are off balance during conflict. We become defensive and emotional. Head and heart can be at war.

Toronto executive coach Cinnie Noble, well aware of the nature of conflict from her training as a lawyer and mediator, believes the solution is to ask yourself some self-reflective questions before, during, and after the conflict.

“We need reflection amidst the storm. It helps to move our brains from the emotional part, the amygdala, to the thinking part, the prefrontal cortex. If there’s a way to distance ourselves from the conflict by self-reflective questions, we are less likely to react emotionally,” she said in an interview.

She highlights “the Platinum Moment of Choice,” when we are afraid to initiate a discussion about something that might lead to conflict because of the discord that will result. But we don’t have to hold back. “We have a choice. We can change. It takes time and intelligence,” she said.

Her recent book, Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You, has a bundle of questions that can help untangle you in almost any conceivable situation. She asks you to consider a tension-filled interaction and reflect on what made you stop saying something, and how in future you might react differently.

Often in conflict, we freeze. It’s a fight-or-flight instinct, the brain immobilized. She offers these questions:

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