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Mindful : April 2018
If you can choose where you have a discus- sion, think about this ahead of time. You prob- ably don’t want to talk about your sex life or money problems with your partner in a noisy bar. Plan for a walk, or sitting down in a quiet place with a cup of tea. If an argument breaks out without warning, suggest a change of venue if you think it will improve the communication. Dress for success. Wear clothing that is com- fortable, empowering, and appropriate to the situation. It’ll help your mind to both focus and relax, just as your posture helps in meditation. A study reported by The Wall Street Journal in 2016 found that, not surprisingly, how you dress for work can affect how confident you feel and how others perceive you. Think about how all the parties in an argu- ment can benefit from the outcome. Check to see if you’re just planning for your own victory or if you’re at least trying to see things from both sides. The chances for a workable outcome increase greatly if everyone benefits in some way. Look at your own feelings about the person you’re arguing with. Do you have empathy or feel some tenderness for the other person or people involved? When you sit down to discuss some changes in your domestic life, you may be upset that your partner is critical of your habit of streaming late-night TV in bed. It’s the one time you can fully relax, so you’re going to defend this, but have you thought about how this affects their getting a good night’s sleep? When necessary, bring in another person to mediate. Sometimes this is essential to a positive or productive outcome. The additional person, whether just a witness or a trained mediator, provides another reference point, helping every- one to be less polarized. It can completely change the dynamics of an argument. During the Argument When it’s your turn to talk, take a breath and pause before you speak, just slightly. That helps to bring your mind and body into focus before you launch your arg ument. When things get heated, take another breath. Take another pause. Listen to the other people involved in a con- versation. If people feel they’re being heard, it allows them to also hear you. → 74 mindful April 2018 get real