7 Strategies to Overcome Conflict

What is Conflict Resolution & Why is it Important?

We are bound to face conflicts. For that reason, the need for conflict resolution, whether it is at home or at the workplace, is critical. Conflict resolution is vital regardless when and where it is utilized because it allows us to stay consistent with our relationships. Conflict resolution enhances commitment and brings new insights among opposing perspectives from the people around us.

Conflict resolution is used to settle disputes and disagreements. It facilitates a conversation that reaches the goal of emotional understanding among everyone. The essential characteristics that an individual should have during conflict resolution are good communication and emotional intelligence. However, the ability to resolve conflict is just as important as recognizing when needed.

What are the signs that we need to resolve the situation?
Remember that we are all different. Therefore how we show distress during conflicts may be different. Below are some common and earliest signs that conflict resolution might need to be utilized.

In the workplace it can be shown as:
– Disengaged or dysfunctional meetings
– Slowdown in productivity
– Poor performance level
– High employee turnover
– Avoidant body language
– Clique formation
– Repetitive disagreement

In the home, with family and friends, it can be shown as:
– Passive aggressiveness
– The issue frequently occurring
– Tense conversations
– Inability to share true feelings
– Avoidant body language

Regardless of how somebody might portray their disagreement or distress, the over-arching sign that we need to recognize is their demeanour. Essentially, if people act unusual compared to their normal behaviour, we may need to step in and ask what is wrong. Sometimes we get the “gut feeling,” where we sense something is “off” and out of the ordinary. In those instances, trust your instinct. If you feel like someone is avoiding you or a particular topic, chances are, you are right.

To help with conflict resolution, below are seven strategies that you can consider to help resolve a conflict at home or at work:

1. Address the problem in a private place.
Always make sure that you and the person or people you are discussing with are in a safe place, where only the people involved are present. There is no need to make a public scene about the problems you and the other party are facing. If you are resolving conflict at home, make sure you go to a private room, away from the rest of your family members. You can pull your co-worker aside or hold a team meeting if the conflict involves a big group. Doing this lets the other people know that you respect them and their right to privacy. It also makes everyone more comfortable to open up to each other when everyone involved can be addressed in the same room.

2. Be clear about the issue.
Do not let yourself or anybody get caught off guard by their emotions. Remember to remain calm and adequately get your message across. Constantly check up on everyone to know if they understand what you are saying and allow them to share their thoughts on the problem. This is not a time to be passive-aggressive and give sarcastic remarks. This is the time where everyone has an equal opportunity to share what it is that is truly bothering them. Make sure to keep the conversations respectful and in a calm manner.

3. Negotiate & compromise.
Bring everyone to an agreed solution. Whether you are at home or work, do not pick sides. Talk to all parties and come to a harmonious conclusion on how to mitigate the problems. If you could apply the above strategy, this step should occur naturally.

4. Avoid overconfidence and intimidation.
Do not let your ego get in the way. Everyone should actively listen and empathize with the opposing side during conflict resolution. There should not be a “he said, she said” or “I’m right, you’re wrong” battle going on. Everyone’s mind should remain open to receiving feedback. Always remember that nobody should be blamed. Choosing someone to blame adds fuel to the fire, resulting in havoc. Converse with everyone openly and without bias.

5. Be honest about your shortcomings.
In addition to not letting your ego get in the way, practice apologizing for any of your shortcomings in the situation or incident. Chances are, you could have played a part in the conflict. And when they say you have, do not try to argue your way out – simply say sorry and move on.

6. Actively listen to all parties.
Active listening is the crucial factor to ensuring conflicts get resolved. Be sure to acknowledge what the other person has to say and offer your empathy towards them. Do not condemn them for their mistakes, and do not continue to think of them in a bad light. We can all change over time. We can all get rid of the bad traits we carry, whether at home or in the workplace. The essence of conflict resolution is reaching harmony with everyone involved.

7. Have clear intentions for strategies in the future.
Once you have discussed and shared your thoughts, make sure to reach a conclusive resolution and strategies to prevent the same conflict from occurring again. This would be an excellent time to set boundaries with the people involved and remind everyone what their role is. If you are resolving conflict at home, make sure to show affection in your intentions. And if you are at work, make sure to show respect in your intentions.

Conflict resolution is essential in building stronger relationships with the people around us. It is the foundation of trust and respect and can ultimately improve everyone’s communication skills. The key to conflict resolution is recognizing when it is needed and knowing the strategies to guide you through it. Remember to keep your communication respectful and show empathy when listening to others.

Understanding Depression: You are Not Alone

Understanding Depression: You are Not Alone

Depression is an illness that can negatively distort how we think, feel, and act. The intense feeling of low mood, attributed with depression, can lead to decreased functions in daily living, including relationships, work, education, and self-help. The difference between depression, sadness, and grief depends on the symptoms involved. 

According to the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association created the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), an individual must have five of the following symptoms that caused a decreased level of functioning. Furthermore, they stated that the symptoms should have been present for at least two weeks or more. These symptoms are:
– Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by the individual or others
– Fatigue or loss of energy most of the day, nearly every day
– Diminished interest in most or all activities that the individual would have normally enjoyed
– Significant weight loss or gain (5% of more than body weight), without changing diet
– Difficulty falling and staying asleep or sleeping for most of the day
– Observable agitation, restlessness, slowed motor movements
– Feelings of excessive worthlessness or guilt
– Diminished thinking, concentrating, or deciding ability
– Thoughts of death and/or suicide and having suicidal plans

The DSM-5 has different categories under depressive disorders, ranging from disruptive mood dysregulation disorder to unspecified depressive disorder. By knowing the different ranges of criteria and symptoms in each condition, we can understand the complexity of depression.

How to Overcome Depression
The most important message that anyone experiencing mental illness should always hear is: you are not alone. Initially, it can be challenging to open up to others and ask for help. The idea that people will judge you or misunderstand you can be daunting. Nevertheless, it should not stop you from getting the proper support you deserve. Regardless of who you open up to, always make sure that they are a supportive, trustworthy, and respectful individual.

If you are not ready to talk to people face-to-face or don’t have a support system, there are online chats or phone numbers that provide anonymous and confidential support. For example, Samaritans of Singapore (1800-221-4444) and the Mental Health Helpline (6389-2222). Both national hotlines provide free 24-hour support services on depression or other mental health illnesses.

Seeking support should also include receiving proper medical advice. If you have been experiencing the symptoms of depression listed above, you should always seek medical attention to disclose the illness fully. By going to a doctor, they can educate you about depression and provide resources to help your recovery.

Often, doctors will recommend a combination of therapy and medications, depending on the severity of your depression. However, it is essential to note that medications can only influence your mood to an extent. Medications alone will not solve depression. It is still crucial to have the
discipline to apply behavioural and cognitive changes. Some life-changing habits that can be used every day are:
– Limiting time on social media
– Getting 7-9 hours of sleep
– Exercising regularly
– Eating nutritious foods and staying hydrated
– Talking to and spending time with loved ones and pets
– Picking up or starting a hobby
– Spending some time in the sunlight
– Meditation or praying
– Healthy distraction techniques

Spending time by ourselves and getting in tune with our minds can allow us to understand how to take care of ourselves properly. People nowadays may find it difficult to adequately provide self-care regimens because of school and work, family obligations, or social media. Regardless of how busy our schedules can get, we should never neglect our mental health.

With the increasing number of individuals diagnosed with depression, we finally accept that depression is a real illness. Like many illnesses, treatment and help are readily available. And like many illnesses, recovery from depression is possible.

Remember, people are willing to listen. Reach out. Speak up. You do not deserve to face depression alone.

Source: MHC Asia Group ©

 Managing Workplace Stress in Challenging Times

Managing Workplace Stress in Challenging Times

Stress occurs when our bodies feel an unfamiliar external stimulus, causing the feeling of threat. There are two types of stress: healthy and unhealthy. Hans Selye, an endocrinologist, developed the general adaptation syndrome, where he theorized that humans undergo three stages of stress. The three stages are:

  1. Alarm – is essentially where our bodies experience the initial fight or flight symptoms.
  1. Resistance – is where our body produces a high metabolic rate. We may start to feel irritability, frustration, and poor concentration. In response to the increased activity, our body will attempt to recover and repair itself until it reaches its normal limits or starting point.
  1. Exhaustion – when our body can’t return to normal, it will experience prolonged stress and can end up draining our bodies. This stage is where fatigue, burnout, depression, anxiety, and decreased tolerance occur.

Using the above concept of the general adaptation syndrome, we notice that healthy stress can be recognized as the ‘alarm’ stage. Healthy stress is beneficial because it can motivate us to continue with a task and work under pressure. On the contrary, unhealthy stress can be identified as the ‘exhaustion’ stage. This state is where the stress we feel does not bring productivity. Instead, it depletes us of our energy.

Understanding the importance of healthy and unhealthy stress is highly crucial in our day-to-day lives. Due to the pandemic changes in our lives, we have increased workplace stress. Reasons that many people have been experiencing workplace stress could range from fear of being laid off from work to poor time management due to working from home.

Our society has also romanticized the notion of “hustling” or “grinding” – the idea of working hard to attain success. While this determination and grit are beneficial, these can pressure one to do work constantly. This can be dangerous because we risk overwhelming our minds and thus adding on unnecessary stress. The common warning signs of workplace stress can include:

– Anxiety, irritability, depression

– Burnout, fatigue, apathy

– Difficulty sleeping, eating, concentrating, and engaging with others

– Body and muscle aches

– Using substances or drugs to cope

– Decreased libido

Coping With Workplace Stress

Remember that unhealthy stress occurs when our body is overworked and drained. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our work tasks and responsibilities that we forget to check on ourselves. We need to start making it a habit to take breaks at work. Allow this time to step away from what you are doing, take a deep breath, and think clearly about your next steps.

Some ways we can decrease workplace stress are to:

  1. Have open conversations with our co-workers, managers, and supervisors. We must not shy away from turning to each other for support. Keep in mind that a healthy workforce cannot function with unhealthy employees, so start on building a support system at the very place that is known to cause stress.
  1. Stop over-scheduling yourself. Often, we can get motivated to win promotions in work by saying yes to every task and agreeing to every responsibility. This can lead to the dangerous act of overwhelming ourselves. Don’t be afraid to accept new challenges but do them at your own pace.
  1. Develop healthy lifestyle choices Various scientific research has proven the benefits of adequate sleep, nutritious foods, and regular exercise. Using these three components in our daily lives will immediately result in our bodies starting to feel refreshed, energized, and more robust. In turn, it will help alleviate the stress that we are experiencing.
  1. Take a break to recharge and relax Remember that unhealthy stress results from over-exhaustion. To avoid this, we must take the time away to recharge our energy and balance our thoughts and emotions.
  1. Have good time management. When work piles up in our schedule, it can be easy to drown in deadlines. We can all achieve time management by having the discipline to delegate our tasks a little bit each day to avoid overworking ourselves.

Stress can be daunting even for the most organized individual. When mishandled, it can cause a state of distress. With the alarming events that our world is experiencing, it is becoming increasingly challenging to manage our time and find time for self-care. But the silver lining is that we are not alone, and there are many resources available for us, such as those listed on  https://www.gov.sg/article/call-these-helplines-if-you-need-emotional-or-psychological-support

Health Connect – October Edition

Health Connect – October Edition 

Cataracts refer to the opacification / clouding of the lenses in one’s eyes, thereby causing a multitude of visual problems.

The majority of cataracts are age-related, and the incidence of cataracts usually increases with age due to degeneration. However, cataracts can also occur due to prior insults such as ocular trauma, infections, inflammation, radiation, medication side-effects, comorbidities etc.

The symptoms of cataracts may vary widely and include blurring and distortion of vision, blindness, difficulties with night driving, glare issues and more. It is routinely diagnosed via eye examinations (e.g. fundoscopy, slit-lamp examination) by a healthcare provider.

The management of cataracts is dependent on several factors including one’s age, maturity of cataracts, comorbidities and more. Surgical intervention, whereby new lenses are inserted, is the mainstay of treatment. Do speak to your healthcare provider for further information regarding this.

1. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/cataract-in-adults
2. https://www.nuh.com.sg/About-NUH/Clinical-Outcomes/Pages/Cataract.aspx#:~:text=In%20Singapore%2C%20the%20percentage%20of,people%2075%20years%20and%20older.