Your participants reflect on their feelings in a conflict with a special focus on anger. They learn to deal with it in a reflective way which might allow them to solve conflicts easier than without this approach.
You can go through the information below with your participants. Ask them, if they know similar situations and how they dealt with it.
In a situation of anger there are many thoughts - detonators that immediately pass our minds. It is important to be aware of them as usually they are not constructive and together with body reactions and emotions can lead to violent reactions and to stop them by chosen techniques. Sometimes the very thought and not the situation cause anger.
Examples of thought - detonators:
- He is doing it on purpose to anger me
- There is no way out!
- How come I happen to work with such people!
Feel your body
Observe the reactions of your body in a stressful situation and decide conciously about the follow up. Such body reactions as tense muscles, rapid breathing can be in the very first seconds addressed by deeper breathening, going out for a while etc. A minimal relaxing the body helps constructive thinking.
Identify your emotions
Stay in touch with yourself and try to name the emotion which is overwhelming you. Usually there is plenty of detailed emotions hidden behind the "anger". Identifying and naming them precisely helps to address the problem better. Examples of emotions:
- lack of understanding
- feelings of failure
- sense of injustice
Let yourself and others experience anger
Anger as all emotions is just there and has many positive sides, such as:
- helps us to mobilise
- helps to define what is important
- creates space to talk about real needs
- gives confidence
- is a driver for change
It is good to precisely name the anger and decide it by identifying the needs and emotions behind it. Being in touch with yourself and taking care of own emotions and needs helps to prevent the anger become violence.
A simple method of formulating the need while becoming angry is:
- F - fact: describe the very fact, for example: You are XY minutes late for the team meeting.
- A - assume an attitude, express your anger related to the fact, for example: "I do not like when you are late, because I waste time waiting for you" or "It makes me angry ... "
- E - expectation, precisely and shortly formulated what you want: I would like you to be on time for the next meeting.
You find more about how to formulate anger (and other issues) here: Nonviolent Communication
We suggest to combine this part with the Personal Conflict History. It allows participants to reflect on their concrete conflicts.
The guiding question would be: "How did I deal with anger in the conflicts I experienced so far". You can also arrange a reflection round in pairs (a partner of the participants' choice, whom they trust and whom they want to reflect with).
This model is strongly connected to non violent communication (M. Rosenberg): https://www.cnvc.org/learn/nvc-foundations
Watzlawick, Paul: The situation is hopeless, but not serious : (the pursuit of unhappiness). WW Norton, New York 1983, ISBN 0-393-31021-3.