Resolve conflict before you get sick

We all know what it is like to be stressed and nervous, especially when an issue remains unresolved at work. There are physical signs that can accompany these feelings: headaches, nausea, dry mouth and cold sweats. Sometimes this hits extreme levels, where we feel extremely unwell and can’t take our minds off what is causing us tension.

It often happens when someone is in the midst of a conflict situation – possibly from bullying or just ongoing frustration and lack of opportunity – that physical symptoms become a lot more enduring and harmful to health. It impacts other aspects of life and has a serious impact on your overall wellbeing.

Too much energy is wasted on wars at work. Peace and harmony is good for health. Here are some tips.

Don’t be aggressive. INSTEAD: Communicate with care

If you feel an injustice has been served then you have every right to feel aggressive, but acting on it will not help. Communicate with care to express exactly what the problem is. Be clear and specific, rather than emotional, which can encourage defensive behaviour and counter-aggression.

Don’t exclude someone. INSTEAD: Make others feel special

Everyone gets drawn into self-preservation at times, but always try to rise above it. By going out of your way to help others and make them feel special you don’t just build that relationship, but all the others around you as people observe the positive behaviour. Companies with a strong culture have that intangible, but powerfully important, care and respect for the others they work with. It goes a long way to alleviating the stress and pressure that the working environment brings.

Don’t let conflicts grow. INSTEAD: Discuss and resolve issues

Obviously, conflicts occur when two people dislike each other. Usually it starts over a specific incident, but it can build up more gradually than that with a lot of smaller, seemingly insignificant things. Don’t get locked into point scoring – it will harm you both. Your working life will improve much more quickly if you address the situation head on and resolve issues.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. INSTEAD: Speak assertively

Many of the people who suffer at work do so without their ‘oppressor’ even realising that they are causing harm. As long as there are individual differences there will also be personality clashes – so make sure you are letting people know the boundaries of what you consider acceptable in the way you are treated. There are times when this doesn’t work, and unfortunately that can require a more serious and official course of action, but speaking assertively is an important first step to being happy at work.

Negative situations that fester at work have the potential to really cause damage to our self-esteem, our overall happiness and ultimately our health. Take the important first steps to remove emotional baggage that holds you back.

Eve Ash has created some hilarious new comedy films: Breaking Bullying, Surviving Team Conflicts, and Surviving Stress and Burnout that can be used for to kick off a fun training session. Eve has produced a wide range of video and book resources ( on building confidence and interpersonal skills. Eve’s two books can Rewrite Your Life! and Rewrite Your Relationships! and can be helpful when negative thoughts drag you down.


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