How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

If you have difficult in-laws who seem to cross the line a lot, here are some constructive strategies for dealing with them.

Don’t assume they’re intentionally trying to be difficult.

In many instances, people think they are being helpful. They don’t realize that dropping by unannounced or giving unsolicited marital or parenting advice isn’t appreciated. Get with your spouse and brainstorm things that your in-laws could do that would be helpful. Then sit down with your in-laws and talk about what you would appreciate them doing. Also, discuss things that you’d like them to stop.

What if you believe it’s truly unhealthy for your family to be around your in-laws?

Your first responsibility is to your spouse and family. If being around your in-laws creates safety issues or requires you to put your family in an unhealthy environment, you’ll want to set limits. When you know you’ll be with your in-laws, decide as a team how much time you will spend there. Perhaps a code word or signal that the tension is mounting and it is time to wrap up the visit would be helpful.

Be careful about anticipating how things will be.

In many instances, anticipating being around difficult in-laws can increase tension and actually make dealing with the situation worse.

Stand your ground.

Many couples experience marital distress because one spouse doesn’t want to hurt his/her parents’ feelings and doesn’t see how them “investing” in the marriage is harmful. If your spouse is uncomfortable with how the in-laws relate to you and your family, it is important to realize that the two of you are a team—not the two of you plus the in-laws.

Focus on those things over which you have control.

You may try to do an extreme makeover on your in-laws’ behavior, but in the end you’ll probably feel frustrated and discouraged. It might be better to focus on your own behavior and the things you do have control over, like:

  • How much time you spend with them
  • Topics that are off-limits for discussion
  • How you allow their behavior to impact you

Want to read more about in-laws? Here you go!

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

YOU CAN BE HAPPILY MARRIED.

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

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Here’s what’s driving the behavior, and how you can respond.

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

MILs, DILs, SILs — if the word “in-law” is in the name, the relationship is bound to be tricky. DILs complain about their MILs; MILs complain about their SILs. And one set of in-laws complains about the other set of in-laws.

And unlike dealing with a friend who’s toxic, you can’t exactly just cut them off. (Well, you can, but not without paying a hefty price.)

Jennifer Freed, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and family therapist in California, says that most problems arise from an in-law who doesn’t exude maturity. That means that you have to be the adult — with a lot of understanding and a great sense of humor. Easy? Not at all. But you can do it.

1. The No-Boundaries In-Law

Your DIL shows up unannounced at your house, grandkids in tow, because “the kids really wanted to see you right now.” (And she stays even if it’s clear that you’re busy.) Or your SIL assumes you’ll watch the kids before he even asks. Boundary issues, anyone?

What drives the behavior: Like exuberant puppies, people without good boundaries are so excited about connecting with others, they aren’t always aware of needs outside their own. Underneath that enthusiasm lies anxiety to get what they want, which makes their behavior anything from incredibly annoying to downright rude.

How to respond: Acknowledge the good, then ask for what you need. Example: “We love spending time with you and the grandkids. We’re just asking that you call, ask, or inform us beforehand.” Say it whenever necessary.

2. The Over-Sharing In-Law

The other set of in-laws love to tell you intimate details about your daughter and their son. They also share details about their son’s business, details he probably told them in confidence. Oversharers tell others information that is inappropriate — and often embarrassing to hear.

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What drives the behavior: “The oversharer has probably never felt sufficiently responded to,” says Dr. Freed, “and learned that by telling too much, he or she definitely got attention.”

How to respond: Forget trying to change the behavior — it’s ingrained. Rather, use humor (“Here we go again!”) or change the subject. But most important, watch what you say with this kind of in-law. Don’t share what you don’t want broadcast everywhere.

3. The Overly Sensitive In-Law

You dine or vacation with your son and DIL and promptly get grilled by your other DIL She wants to know when you’ll be dining or vacationing with them. After all, it’s only fair, right?

What drives the behavior: Overly sensitive people see their world as a list of losses. They are also highly competitive with their counterparts. Though there can be five good things to every slight, they focus on the slights.

How to respond: Don’t take personally what they take personally. Accept that they are not out to deliberately hurt you, but conversely, do not rescue them. Acknowledge their feelings by saying, “We love being with both sets of our kids,” not, “Okay, when do you want to go out for dinner?” “If you treat them as if they can handle both the perceived slight and your acknowledgment of it,” says Dr. Freed, “they will get over it.” If you try to make everything even steven, you’re fueling the fire.

4. The Control-Freak In-Law

The other set of in-laws plans so far ahead that by the time you invite the kids for a holiday, they’re already booked up. Ditto birthdays, vacations, and special events.

What drives the behavior: For control freaks everything is about the need to feel safe and secure in an unstable world. Anything outside the realm of their control (you, your family, their adult child, the rest of the world) is very threatening.

How to respond: Forget trying to out-control a controller. It will make things worse. Rather, talk to your adult kids and say, “We totally understand your wanting to spend time with the other parents, but we’d like to spend some holidays with you too.” If the adult kids waffle, try this, “We feel lonely and marginalized when you do every holiday (birthday, whatever) with Tom’s parents.” Let them figure out how to make it work.

5. The Strings-Attached In-Law

Every time your SIL offers to help you with something around the house, he says, “It’s gonna cost you.” Smile, smile. No favor is a favor with this kind of person; it’s a bargaining chip for when he (and maybe your daughter) need something from you.

What drives the behavior: “People who attach strings to kind deeds don’t really believe others will love them unless they have to,” says Dr. Freed. “Somewhere along the line, they learned that bribery might sustain a relationship.”

How to respond: It’s imperative to let your SIL know that your connection with him stands outside his offers to help. Tell him, “We always appreciate your help, but when there are conditions, it feels like we’re in a brokerage not a relationship.”

Then show him you care about him by making dates to get together one-on-one — invite him to a ball game, out for burgers, anything that shows him you value him for more than just what he does for you.

6. The Fundamentalist In-Law

You and your spouse are moderates in everything you do. Somehow, however, your moderately raised child marries a person so politically or religiously fundamental that you feel constantly judged, damned, insulted, or dismissed for any beliefs that run counter to the “correct” one.

What drives the behavior: “Most humans have a core need for beliefs,” says Dr. Freed, “but for intractable thinkers, those beliefs become an antidote to the terrifying uncertainty and ambiguity of life.” Their beliefs are as essential to them as crutches to someone who breaks a leg.

How to respond: There’s absolutely no changing their beliefs, so become a master at steering the conversation to areas of common interest. Be understanding that these fundamental beliefs are a coping mechanism, not a slam against you.

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

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From CEOs to firefighters to fighter-jet pilots, the ability to stay calm in a difficult situation can mean the difference between success and failure. Research has shown that the mind works best when it is in a moderate state of arousal (not too stressed, but not too calm either). So how do successful people stay cool under pressure?

1. They remain positive.

Having a negative attitude about the challenges you face is a great way to snowball into feeling overwhelmed. Look at obstacles as opportunities to learn and tough assignments as chances to show the world (and especially your boss) what you are made of. Be confident in your ability to slay whatever dragon lies ahead.

2. They avoid caffeine.

The last thing you need when you have a lot on your plate is too much caffeine in your system. Caffeine will only further stimulate the areas of your brain that are causing you to feel overwhelmed in the first place. Opt for water instead.

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

3. They make jokes.

If you ever find yourself on a deck of an aircraft carrier, you are likely to hear pilots ripping on each other and joking around about the imminent danger they face on a daily basis. It isn’t that they don’t feel fear; it is that they manage it through humor. Laughter releases hormones that calm you down and allow you to be in control.

4. They identify the stressor.

Zeroing in on what exactly is making you feel stressed out is the first step in overcoming those feelings. Being able to identify the enemy allows you to figure out what its weaknesses are and which of your strengths are most likely to be useful in any given situation. Just like with a child who is afraid of the dark, things are never as scary when you fully understand them.

5. They decompress.

Taking time to step back from a situation and relax can help you reorient your thoughts and view things more clearly. Take a walk, read a book, or watch a movie. Just do something to take your mind off the situation that is getting you worked up. You will be much more effective at problem solving once you have taken time to rejuvenate your mind.

6. They reframe the situation.

Once you have taken the time to decompress, you may have a completely different perspective on a difficult situation. Embrace new ways of thinking and view problems from all sides. You may realize you were, in fact, trying to climb up the mountain’s sheer cliff face rather than the smoothly winding trail on the opposite side.

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

7. They make a plan.

Once you fully understand what you are up against, you can develop a step by step plan to get you to your goal. One tactic successful people use is back-casting, where they think about the final objective they are working towards and identify each step they need to reach on the way to achieving it. From there it is easy to determine when each step needs to be completed to stay on track. Nothing helps you stay calm like a clear plan of attack.

8. They get some sleep.

Just because you have deadlines to meet and people to impress doesn’t mean that you can sacrifice sleep to get there. Not only will losing sleep damage your health, it will make you generally less effective. A tired mind is one that is not able to think clearly and it is hard to stay calm when you are living in a mental fog. We can only learn and adapt when we are rested.

9. They ask for help.

Being afraid to ask for help is a sure-fire way to feel overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed is bad enough without making yourself feel alone as well. Take advantage of the people in your network who have skills and knowledge that you don’t. More often than not, people are happy to help in any way they can. Feeling like someone has your back is a great way to stay calm.

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

10. They mentally prepare.

Before projects even begin, successful people train their brains to stay calm when the pressure is on. It comes naturally with experience, but you can consciously work at it too. Play games that encourage mental flexibility under a time limit. The Internet is full of puzzles and games that can help keep your brain in tip-top shape and ready for the next challenge.

#Tips #Managing #Difficult #inLaws

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

Managing your in-laws isn’t exactly easy. I’m extremely lucky, because I absolutely adore Heather’s mother and father to no end and she adores mine. Of course, there are also brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts-in-law, and grandfathers-in-law to consider. Remember, whether your mother-in-law rubs you the wrong way or you can’t get along with your sister-in-law to save your life, managing your in-laws takes all forms. The thing is, these people are your family now. You don’t have to be besties, but you want things to be cordial. If you ever have any in-law issues, hopefully these tips will help.

1 Be Cordial but Don’t Kiss up

If you know for a fact that you don’t, won’t, and simply can’t get along with your in-laws, that’s actually okay. Like I mentioned, you never have to be BFFs. That being said, when you’re thrown together for special events, holidays, family occasions, and similar get-togethers, keep things cordial but never, ever kiss up in an attempt to get a difficult in-law to like you. That just casts shade on your integrity, and it’s not worth it. You’ll seem disingenuous and insincere, you’ll feel dirty, and your in-law will probably know you don’t really feel so saccharine. The secret to managing your in-laws is striking a balancing act. If you’re polite and courteous, you’re being the bigger person.

2 Vent to Your Spouse (but Don’t Talk Smack)

There are some exceptions to this rule, but let me preface this by saying that you should never rant to your spouse or partner about how his mom’s a bitch or her dad’s a jerk. For the most part, parents are off-limits, because talking crap is just disrespectful. If they do something that really annoys you, feel free to vent, but keep it respectful by remembering that your spouse likely loves his or her parents and doesn’t need to be placed in the middle of a family feud. That’s just not fair! But the exception? If your spouse dislikes his sister’s husband or your partner doesn’t like her brother’s girlfriend and you feel the same, vent together. Just make sure you keep it private.

3 Avoid Controversial Situations

There are certain situations you can’t avoid, like holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions. If you know that there’s some tension, however, during some casual Sunday dinner or a barbecue, feel free to take a pass. You can even send your spouse in your stead, that way he or she gets to spend time with the family but you won’t be adding to any stressful situations.

4 Stay Smart on Social Media

Social media can be the bane of your existence when it comes to delicate family matters. You might have a sister-in-law who takes everything you say personally, even if it’s not about her, or an in-law who likes to bait you with Facebook posts or generally cause drama. Just stay out of it and don’t play into it. You don’t need to censor yourself either, although you should never air your dirty laundry either directly or indirectly in such a public forum. If you have to, take advantage of those handy privacy settings and friends lists, to keep a troublesome in-law from seeing certain posts.

5 Set Beneficial Boundaries

While you don’t want to have some big, dramatic confrontation, you need to feel free to set boundaries. For instance, if you have to let your father-in-law know that you don’t need financial advice or tell a brother-in-law that you aren’t comfortable with him stopping by your house all the time or pulling you into drama with his wife, do so. Sometimes you have to put your foot down, even if it makes you uncomfortable.

6 Have a Direct Conversation

One of the best ways to set boundaries and to clear the air is to have a direct conversation. Notice I said conversation, not confrontation. If you have an in-law who disrespects you, treats you badly, or oversteps his or her boundaries, you have to talk to them about it. However, while doing so, stay calm and courteous – even if your in-law doesn’t. Cooler heads prevail, and if things get incendiary, it won’t be due to your behavior.

7 Strike a Balance between Honesty and Tact

Sometimes there really is a fine line between total honesty and tact. You have to find the balance and keep it at all costs. Just because you think your brother-in-law runs his mouth way too much or your mother-in-law tries to have too much input into how you raise your children doesn’t mean that you should unleash your uncensored opinion. However, you can let your BIL know that you aren’t going to discuss certain things or tell your MIL that you appreciate her advice and that you’ll absolutely ask her for help when you need it.

8 Know when to Keep Things Superficial

Unfortunately, sometimes none of these tactics work. Sometimes you’re faced with an in-law who simply does not want to get along with you either, but isn’t willing to meet you halfway. When that happens, know when it give it up as a loss and keep things superficial. A generic Christmas card, a happy birthday wish on Facebook, a casual family dinner when you’re in town, and that’s it. You’re done. You don’t have to be friends, you don’t have to share secrets, and you don’t have to go out of your way, as long as you keep it polite on your end and walk away when you simply can’t be courteous any longer.

Sometimes, in finding the love of your life, you wind up related to people with whom you just can’t get along. You can still make the best of a not so great situation without having to kowtow or avoid your new family. Stand strong, set boundaries, and be cordial even when you can’t exactly be friendly. Do you have any in-law stories you’d like to share? Vent about your brother-in-law’s wife or rave about your amazing mother-in-law, we’d love to hear it all!

Believe it or not, you can stay calm, defuse conflict, and keep your dignity.

Key points

  • You can’t reason with an unreasonable person, but there are proven techniques to better manage dicey situations.
  • Verbal de-escalation tips include listening, staying calm, and looking for the hidden need.
  • Remember that one response does not fit all; you will need to remain flexible.

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

We’ve all been there—trying valiantly to reason with an incredibly difficult person. The situation proves frustrating, maddening, and sometimes even frightening. The truth is, you can’t reason with an unreasonable person. However, there are proven techniques to better manage such dicey situations.

I learned the ropes of what’s technically called “verbal de-escalation” from many years of working in hospitals. Every year, we’d go through training on how to defuse difficult situations in which a patient, family member, or even another employee was extremely angry and seemingly out of control.

What follows are the tactics that professional crisis intervention teams use, and you can learn them, too. You can use these techniques with your boss, a customer, a family member, even a stranger. Keep in mind: The closer your relationship with the person, the more knowledge you’ll have of what will best work to calm things down.

These tips may feel unnatural at first. When you’re dealing with a person behaving unreasonably, the fear response center in your brain (the fight-flight-freeze part) is going to be activated. This part of the brain can’t distinguish between a customer that’s yelling at you or a vicious dog about to attack you. It’s up to you to engage your conscious mind in order to defuse the situation. Some of these tips are general, suggesting a mindset to cultivate. Others are more specific in advising you on what to do in the moment.

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6 Easy ways to stay calm and positive in difficult situations and hard times

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Here are some tips to help you keep your cool in life’s difficult situations.

Subrat Das

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

Setbacks in life come with a form of emotional strain. They leave you with feelings of shame, guilt, sadness, and anger. You feel overwhelmed, defeated, incapable, and lost. You become encompassed in doubt. Severe anxiety and stress can cause long-term damage to your health.

Every adversity and difficulty does not come to make you weak. If you introspect you can uncover a higher purpose and deeper meaning secretly attached to the adverse situation.

“Pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them”- Rumi

Many of the world’s top achievers could not have reached their level of success without learning how to stay extremely calm in hard times. You can keep moving forward no matter what the situation is by remaining calm, positive, and motivated.

“Problems are not stopping signs they are guidelines”-Robert Schullers.

Here are some tips to help you keep your cool in life’s difficult situations. These tips can help you feel more empowered to handle many difficult situations:

1. Don’t react immediately: Don’t panic. Be patient and ask yourself, is this going to matter a year from now? Sometimes situations may not be as serious as you are thinking it to be. This perspective will help you remain less emotional and can improve your ability to make correct decisions.

2. Take care of yourself: You will be better equipped to handle a crisis if you take care of your body, mind, and soul. Eat a balanced diet, exercise, go for a walk and meditate regularly. Meditation can make you stable and powerful even in the most difficult situation. Meditation if done correctly and practiced regularly can provide some insight into your future course of action.

3. Express gratitude: Count your blessings and be grateful for what you have in life. If you have a roof over your head, food on your table, clothes in a closet, have a bed to sleep in and a supporting family you are richer than most of the world population. Many people struggling day and night to have these things.

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance”-Eckhart Tolle

4. Reach out to your support system: When you reach out to your support system, to people you trust, that security will help you to control your stress and anxiety. When you explain your situation, you might discover a new approach or solution to your problem.

5. Help someone: By making a difference in someone else’s life you will feel happy and it can be a great way to gain confidence. It could be some small help to anybody maybe to a stranger.

6. Accept the situation: Don’t try to resist, live in the present so that you will be able to approach the situation with a better perspective.

“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on”- Eckhart Tolle

Nothing is permanent in this world. Your hard times and difficulties are also not permanent. This too shall pass and when it does you will be stronger and capable than ever before.

Although it may seem impossible, there are some guidelines that can help us stay calm in difficult moments and achieve greater well-being in adverse situations.

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

Facing difficult situations or stressful moments can put us to the test. The truth is that it is not easy to stay calm in difficult situations. However, with practice and dedication, we can develop the discipline that is needed to generate self-control and not lose our temper.

Self-control is the ability of people to maintain self-control in difficult, stressful or emotionally-provoking situations. Or even in hostile or dangerous situations. This implies the ability to resist and a positive attitude when we are under constant stress. Let’s look at some ways to stay calm.

Techniques to help you stay calm

1. Controlled breathing

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

The breathing process is unconscious. That is, we do it automatically and without making any effort. However, the controlled breathing exercise involves breathing deeply and slowly.

This simple breathing method is one of the most efficient ways to calm down and control strong emotions under stressful conditions.

To stay calm, the most efficient breathing is diaphragmatic breathing. This is also known as abdominal breathing.

  • The diaphragm, when it contracts, moves the abdomen and displaces the organs downward.
  • This breathing is accomplished by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth (with the diaphragm).

2. Divert thoughts

Although it may seem like an unorthodox method, it is also effective. Diverting thoughts to less stressful ones can help us regain control and stay calm. Thoughts are our worst enemies in difficult times.

They can help us get through the moment, or sink us much deeper into stress. Therefore, it is necessary that we learn to control what we think to avoid having “terrorist thoughts” that make it even more difficult for us to overcome the situation that affects us.

3. Identify causes of stress

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

There are also other factors that can contribute to stress and for which we must use other methods. An example is hormonal changes. For example, premenstrual syndrome. It is a hormonal drop just before menstruation that causes stress and changes in mood.

The same happens after childbirth, when there is a substantial decrease in hormones that cause us a lot of stress. Also during menopause, many hormones are lost in a sustained and progressive way, which causes excess stress in many women.

4. Manage your body well

Body language is extremely important when trying to handle difficult or stressful situations. Here we must mention the James-Lange theory. This states that the nervous system creates physiological responses in response to experiences and stimuli.

Some of these physiological responses include muscle tension, tearing, or rapid heart rate, among others. It is from these physiological responses that emotions are created.

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

That is, in a stressful situation our nervous system can tense the muscles. In response, we feel fear and we lose control of our emotions. To fight these physiological responses, we must learn to control our body.

Therefore, when we find ourselves in a difficult situation, we must relax the shoulders and arms, and even the neck. We will accompany it with a deep breath and close our eyes.

This combination of actions will help us to relax immediately. This way we can handle the difficult situation that we are suffering at that moment and we will be able to remain calm.

If, on the contrary, we remain tense, we will be on edge and we will lose control of ourselves. We could even suffer a nervous breakdown if the stressful situation continues for a long time.

In some cases, stress can cause superficial blood capillaries to break and we begin to “sweat blood.” Therefore, it is very important to learn to handle difficult situations that may arise.

These tips can help you stay calm in difficult situations. Put them into practice and you will notice it in a positive way.

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How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

Getting worked up will only make things worse.

When you’re in the middle of a conflict, it’s common to automatically enter into a “fight or flight” mentality. But it’s possible to interrupt this response and clear a path towards entering into a more productive discussion. Start by taking a deep breath and focusing on your body. Repeat a mantra to yourself such as “This isn’t about me,” “This will pass,” or “This is about the business.” And try to distance yourself from the negative emotion you’re feeling by labeling it: “He is so wrong about that and it’s making me mad becomes I’m having the thought that my coworker is wrong, and I’m feeling anger.” And don’t forget the value of taking a break. The more time you give yourself to process your emotions, the less intense they are likely to be.

Getting worked up will only make things worse.

It’s hard not to get worked up emotionally when you’re in a tense conversation. After all, a disagreement can feel like a threat. You’re afraid you’re going to have to give up something — your point of view, the way you’re used to doing something, the notion that you’re right, or maybe even power – and your body therefore ramps up for a fight by triggering the sympathetic nervous system. This is a natural response, but the problem is that our bodies and minds aren’t particularly good at discerning between the threats presented by not getting your way on the project plan and, say, being chased down by a bear. Your heart rate and breathing rate spike, your muscles tighten, the blood in your body moves away from your organs, and you’re likely to feel uncomfortable.

None of this puts you in the right frame of mind to resolve a conflict. If your body goes into “fight or flight” mode or what Dan Goleman called “amygdala hijack,” you may lose access to the prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain responsible for rational thinking. And making rational decisions is precisely what you need to do in a difficult conversation. Not only are you losing the ability to think clearly but chances are your counterpart notices the signs of stress — your face turning red, the pace of your speech speeding up — and, because of mirror neurons that cause us to “catch” the emotions of another person, your colleague is likely to start feeling the same way. Before you know it, the conversation has derailed and the conflict intensifies.

Luckily, it’s possible to interrupt this physical response, manage your emotions, and clear the way for a productive discussion. There are several things you can do to keep your cool during a conversation or to calm yourself down if you’ve gotten worked up.

Adapted from

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict
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Breathe. Simple mindfulness techniques can be your best friend in tense situations and none is more straightforward and accessible than using your breath. So when you start noticing yourself getting tense, try to focus on breathing. Notice the sensation of air coming in and out of your lungs. Feel it pass through your nostrils or down the back of your throat. This will take your attention off the physical signs of panic and keep you centered. Some mindfulness experts suggest counting your breath — either inhaling and exhaling for a count of 6, for example, or just counting each exhale until you get to 10 and then starting again.

Focus on your body. Sitting still when you’re having a difficult conversation can make the emotions build up rather than dissipate. Experts say that standing up and walking around helps to activate the thinking part of your brain. If you and your counterpart are seated at a table, you may be hesitant to suddenly stand up. Fair enough. Instead, you might say, “I feel like I need to stretch some. Mind if I walk around a bit?” If that still doesn’t feel comfortable, you can do small physical things like crossing two fingers or placing your feet firmly on the ground and noticing what the floor feels like on the bottom of your shoes. Mindfulness experts call this “anchoring.” It can work in all kinds of stressful situations. For example, for a long time I was afraid of flying, but I found that counting while touching each of my fingers with my thumb helped to get me out of my rumination mode.

Try saying a mantra. This is a piece of advice I’ve gotten from Amy Jen Su, managing partner of Paravis Partners and coauthor of Own the Room. She recommends coming up with a phrase that you can repeat to yourself to remind you to stay calm. Some of her clients have found “Go to neutral” to be a helpful prompt. You can also try “This isn’t about me,” “This will pass,” or “This is about the business.”

Acknowledge and label your feelings. Another useful tactic comes from Susan David, author of Emotional Agility. When you’re feeling emotional, “the attention you give your thoughts and feelings crowds your mind; there’s no room to examine them,” she says. To distance yourself from the feeling, label it. “Call a thought a thought and an emotion an emotion,” says David. He is so wrong about that and it’s making me mad becomes I’m having the thought that my coworker is wrong, and I’m feeling anger. Labeling like this allows you to see your thoughts and feelings for what they are: “transient sources of data that may or may not prove helpful.” When you put that space between these emotions and you, it’s easier to let them go — and not bury them or let them explode.

Take a break. In my experience, this is a far-underused approach. The more time you give yourself to process your emotions, the less intense they are likely to be. So when things get heated, you may need to excuse yourself for a moment — get a cup of coffee or a glass of water, go to the bathroom, or take a brief stroll around the office. Be sure to give a neutral reason for why you want to stand up and pause the conversation — the last thing you want is for your counterpart to think that things are going so badly you’re desperate to escape. Try saying something like, “I’m sorry to interrupt you, but I’d love to get a quick cup of coffee before we continue. Can I get you something while I’m up?”

Keep in mind that you’re probably not the only one who’s upset. Your counterpart is likely to express anger or frustration too. While you may want to give them the above advice, no one wants to be told they need to breathe more deeply or take a break. So you may be in a situation where you just need to let the other person vent. That’s usually easier said than done though. It’s hard not to yell back when you’re being attacked, but that’s not going to help. Jeanne Brett, a professor of dispute resolution and negotiations at Kellogg School of Management, suggests visualizing your coworker’s words going over your shoulder, not hitting you in the chest. But don’t act aloof; it’s important to show that you’re listening. If you don’t feed your counterpart’s negative emotion with your own, it’s likely they will wind down.

Let’s face it. Conflicts with coworkers can be tough. But you’re not going to solve the underlying issues or maintain a positive relationship if you barrel through the conversation when you’re completely worked up. Hopefully, these five tactics will help you move from angry and upset to cool as a cucumber.

Remember Elise with the mother-in-law who showed 15+ movies to her young grandchildren and thought it was okay to do so? Let’s have a look at how Elise and her partner, Carl, dealt with the situation. Just to recap, we had a situation where child minding for Elise and Carl came with an added twist. Carl’s mother, Helen, collected DVDs for the grandchildren, but she took no notice of the censor’s rating for each movie. On one overnight stay, Helen showed a movie that was rated for mature audiences to her four grandchildren, aged 11, nine, eight, and six. It … Continue reading →

In Dealing with Difficult In-Laws (1) we met Claire, who had a three-week-old daughter, sleeping problems, breast feeding problems, and a highly intrusive mother. Claire was also showing signs of developing post-natal depression, including frequent bouts of anxiety, uncontrolled weeping, and difficulty coping with her new baby. But for Claire, her biggest problem was her mother. Claire’s mother, Julie, had always exercised a lot of control over Claire’s life. She had influenced many of Claire’s life choices, including the city she lived in, the college she had attended, and even the suburb she was currently living in. Now that the … Continue reading →

Want to find out what’s happening with Helena and Dave, and Dave’s “fun” brother, Dean? How about Claire and her intrusive mother, and Elise and Carl and the mother-in-law who just won’t hear? Read on! In the last article on Dealing with Difficult In-Laws (1), we read that Helena and Dave had a problem with Dave’s brother, Dean. Or at least Helena had a problem with Dean and his constant money borrowing. Dave seemed to think that, as it was only $50 here and there (plus the occasional bigger hit), it was all okay. Helena, as we remember, wanted to … Continue reading →

Although mothers-in-law bear the brunt of the “difficult in-law” tag, family in-law problems come in many different guises and are not restricted to mothers, or even to females. Let’s take a look at some examples where a marriage is under siege due to problems with extended family members. Scenario 1: Helena and Dave are a busy, working couple in their early 30s with no children. Both hold responsible jobs and work long hours. Dave’s brother, Dean, is single, changes his job regularly to follow his main interest—surfing—and is an easy-going, genuinely fun guy. People enjoy his company, including Helena and … Continue reading →

Insurance companies in New York are required to cover the costs of applied behavior analysis. This went into effect in 2011. Now, a new state regulation has popped up that would greatly reduce the number of providers for ABA therapy that the insurance companies would cover. This will make it harder for families to afford the therapy that their children require. In 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law that required health insurance companies to cover the cost of autism services. The insurers had to pay up to $45,000 a year for therapy and treatment, including applied behavior analysis (ABA). … Continue reading →

Today, January 15, 2013, Vice President Biden delivered his policy proposals to President Obama regarding ways to reduce gun violence. New York Governor Cuomo also unveiled rules to prevent gun violence. Some of the new regulations are going to affect children, teens, and adults who have mental illnesses. Here is what parents need to know. Now is the time to do something. The tragedy that happened in Newtown, Connecticut, has sparked a push for legislators to enact laws that are intended to reduce the amount of gun violence in the United States. Some feel that this is what we have … Continue reading →

It is now official. There is a law in California that protects businesses from so called “predatory” lawsuits filed under the Americans With Disabilities Act. The purpose of this law is to protect the finances of business owners. It is not designed to protect the rights of people who have disabilities. This week, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB1186, the bill that was made by Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, (who is a Democrat), and Senator Bob Dutton, (who is a Republican). The law is going to protect businesses in California from what has been referred to as “frivolous” or … Continue reading →

Sometimes, it takes a lawsuit to force businesses or towns to follow the laws and meet the accessibility requirements set forth in the Americans With Disabilities Act. A town in California will now begin making the the improvements that it should have implemented a long time ago. This is very good news! Parents of kids who have the types of special needs that require a wheelchair know, from personal experience, how difficult it can be to navigate through restaurants, stores, parks, and other public places if those places have not been designed to include adequate wheelchair accessibility. Things like bathrooms … Continue reading →

Right now, the federal government doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages. However, a few states, and plenty of businesses, do recognize it when it comes to employer sponsored health insurance benefits. This is one situation where employers are ahead of the health insurance laws. The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was passed in 1996 and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It legally defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. DOMA has been challenged many times. Right now, there are a few states that do recognize same-sex marriage. The Obama administration says that it will … Continue reading →

Spring is just around the corner. Many people welcome the warmer air, the sunny skies, and the lack of snow. Parents of kids who have environmental allergies know that Spring weather makes their child suffer. Certain laws might make it more difficult for you to purchase your child’s allergy medications this year. The flowers are blooming, and spewing pollen into the air. Parents may have already noticed that their child is sneezing, needing to blow or wipe his nose more often than usual, and may be rubbing his eyes. These are all symptoms of allergies. This is the time to … Continue reading →

Saturday, June 27, 2020

One Simple Action To Stay Calm During Difficult Conversations

How to stay calm around difficult in‐lawsYou know the feeling. You’re in the middle of a conversation with someone – your spouse, friend, or co-worker – when the person says something that offends you or makes you angry.

You feel your blood temperature start to rise. And what we do in that moment can mean the difference between a productive conversation and a full-on heated confrontation or argument.

In most cases, lashing back defensively would be like pouring gasoline on a fire. But if your response is calm and intentional, you can literally change the course of the conversation into a productive exchange where you feel heard and understood and feel a greater sense of compassion. Here is one simple action to stay calm during difficult conversations.

First, notice when your anger slowly starts to build. It’s in that isolated moment that you pause and freeze. Then take one to three slow breaths. Or count backward from 5 to 1, described as the 5 Second Rule.

This one simple action cuts off the brain’s fight-or-flight reaction. Because when we feel attacked verbally, the brain reacts the same as if there is a gun pointed at us and we immediately dive into a “fight-or-flight” state. And it’s in this state when we’re likely to blurt out things we might later regret.

When you “freeze and breathe,” you automatically calm down. You can think more rationally and intentionally choose what you say and do next. The more you practice simply noticing yourself becoming angry or upset, the easier it will become to remain calm instead of reacting emotionally.

Over time, you can actually change the way your brain responds to such emotional triggers in the future. And it can literally save your most important relationships.

To find out how strategic coaching can help you communicate more powerfully, persuasively, and effectively in your personal and family relationships, click here or email me directly at [email protected]

In the meantime, sign up for our blogs or monthly newsletter and you’ll never miss a post.

The divorce process can be a particularly emotional and vulnerable time. Don’t make these common mistakes.

by Jessica Zimmer
updated May 02, 2022 · 6 min read

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

As anyone who’s gone through a divorce can tell you, the process is rarely easy. Tensions run high, and couples often make poor decisions in the heat of the moment.

Given the mountain of financial, practical and emotional details that have to be sorted, it’s not surprising so many couples wind up making critical mistakes on the road to divorce. However, there are a number of things you should do, or more specifically not do, to lessen the chance you’ll regret your decisions later on.

Here are the top 10 tips on what to avoid when filing for divorce.

1. Don’t Get Pregnant

Having a baby during your divorce complicates a lot of things, and could even hinder your right to divorce. In November 2004, a Spokane County, Wash. judge refused to allow Shawnna Hughes, a pregnant woman, to divorce her abusive husband. Hughes’ husband is not the father of her child. But because Hughes became pregnant during the divorce proceedings, state law presumes Hughes’ husband to be the father of her child born up to 300 days after her divorce. The judge refused to grant Hughes a divorce because he was concerned there would be no father to take financial responsibility for the child. Although many states now grant single parents the same rights as married ones, having a child when you’re in marital limbo can be problematic.

2. Don’t Forget to Change Your Will

Getting divorced does not automatically revoke a will. If you want to prevent your soon-to-be-ex-spouse from receiving the monies and privileges granted them in your will, you need to update your will. You can re-do a will at any time. But if you die before you are granted a divorce, and you have left your spouse nothing, he or she can sue and recover part of your estate.

3. Don’t Dismiss the Possibility of Collaborative Divorce or Mediation

In a collaborative divorce, you can get the help of professionals—attorneys, divorce coaches and therapists, to divide property and manage emotional stress. Some critics of collaborative divorce believe that attorneys, divorce coaches and therapists who engage in collaborative divorce are not really experts, and cost too much time and money. But the majority of jurisdictions with collaborative divorce have stated that collaborative divorce is more cooperative and less adversarial than traditional divorce.

Mediation is different. Only one third-party professional—a divorce mediator—helps you and your spouse reach an agreement. Mediation is more of an ongoing process than a one-time intervention. Although lawyers are generally not allowed into mediation sessions, you can consult a lawyer at any time during the process to make sure you are getting the right result.

4. Don’t Sleep With Your Lawyer

It’s easy to get close to the one person who is on your side. But it’s also a big mistake. Some states prohibit all sexual activity between an attorney and client. Other states allow an attorney and client who had a sexual relationship before the case to continue the relationship. In either case, sleeping with your lawyer can compromise your attorney-client communications because you may be charged with adultery for the infidelity.

5. Don’t Take It out on the Kids

Children need a supportive environment to deal with divorce. Minimize the amount you talk about the process. It will give you more time to be there for them. Refocus your energy so you can attend their school and after-school events, help them with homework, and take them out once in a while to the movies or the zoo. When you are relaxed, they get more relaxed. Though you should be comfortable talking with your children about the divorce, the point of this divorce is to relieve stress on you and your family.

6. Don’t Refuse to See a Therapist

Seeing a therapist can help you get through the range of emotions that you will experience when dealing with divorce. It is a good idea to get help before you become extremely depressed or angry. A therapist is not just someone to talk to. They are also a professional who can show you how to relax, how to talk to your kids, and how to remain calm in court. Most importantly, a therapist can help you figure out how to become self-sufficient.

7. Don’t Wait Until After the Holidays

You already know the holidays are not going to be difficult. So why wait?

Divorce lawyers often see an increase in clients before, during, and after Christmas. It’s also easier to get used to an empty home before the holidays. If you wait (and fight) through the season, you may destroy any chances for an amicable split and wind up hashing out your differences in court.

8. Don’t Forget About Taxes

Typically, the person who is awarded custody of the children gets the house. But the house may not be the best deal. If you can’t afford the mortgage, taxes and upkeep on the house, you want to ask for the investment portfolio of equal value instead. However, before declaring yourself king or queen of your block, remember:single people are not allowed to shelter as many capital gains from taxes. Stocks can also be at issue. Newly-purchased stocks may be more desirable because they will cost you less in capital gains taxes.

9. Don’t Settle Early

Just because you want out of your marriage immediately doesn’t mean you should forfeit your financial security. Make multiple copies of all of your important financial documents: pension statements, tax forms, brokerage and mutual fund statements, credit card statements, and other records. It will make you aware of what you own and even what you owe.

Make sure that you and the children will continue to have health insurance during and after the divorce proceedings. While you are still married to your spouse, an illness or accident can change how property is divided.

If you and your spouse can work out an amicable agreement on your own, you can file what’s known as an “uncontested” divorce. This will save you both time and money in court costs.

If this is simply not possible, you may want to hire a professional mediator or an attorney. If you decide to retain legal counsel, remember to bring three things to the first meeting with your lawyer so you can assess what you will need once separated: a balance sheet listing the family’s assets and debts, an accounting sheet of your income and expenses, and your tax return.

10. Don’t Increase Your Debt

Divorce is expensive. On top of attorney’s fees, you will need money to set up a new household. Though it may be difficult to make ends meet, you should get used to having less now. Remember, your legal bills and court costs may come due before you receive your first payment of alimony or even your share of the marital property. While it may seem stressful, the freedom you’ll enjoy down the line will be well worth the struggle.

One Final Note

Putting aside strong emotions in favor of cooperating with your spouse and managing the thornier issues of your separation with a calm and level head will definitely pay off in the long run. Both of you will make wiser decisions and come out of the process with fewer bruises.

How many times have you thought that your job would be much easier if you didn’t have to deal with difficult or emotional clients?

The reality of a client-facing role in the professions is that difficult or emotional clients come as par for the course. I was running a training course on LinkedIn last week where one of the lawyers on the course specialised in helping her clients when they are grieving for the death of a loved one. Perhaps I should have asked her for top tips on how to cope!

Your ability to excel within the professions as a fee earner will be severely hampered if you struggle to cope with the more challenging clients. Even if you deliver a relatively safe service, such as helping with year-end accounts, there will be times when the emotions will make it difficult to deliver the service the client needs.

Table of Contents

Do we struggle with being ‘too British’ when it comes to dealing with emotions at work?

I know that the British culture is where you are expected to show a ‘stiff upper lip’ and leave your feelings and emotions at the door when you come into work. Perhaps this is why so many of us shy away from conversations with difficult or emotional clients?

There is a good chance that many of us don’t like dealing with this type of client because they are unpredictable. This unpredictability can come from the suddenness with which their behaviour changes or how they react when they are angry or upset. Think of a time when your emotions got out of control. Did you act in a rational way at the time? I’m guessing not!

Remember that often it is not personal or anything to do with you

As I am writing this article I am smiling to myself. I’ve woken up this morning with my old friend, the right ear infection, back again. This makes me a fairly grumpy person. I’ve learnt that when this happens I should remove myself from people and plod on with what I need to do today. However, if I end up talking to someone I am going to need to find my happy face and normal warm, friendly self. (That is going to take some doing!)

Like me today, your client outburst may be nothing to do with you. They may be struggling with something in their personal life or having a bad day. When you are having to cope with something which is impacting your ability to perform, this can change your normal behaviour. For me I tend to get irritable, grumpy and unwilling to suffer fools gladly. It can also stop people from wanting to find closure or just acting like a reasonable human being.

Learn to control your own emotions

When you are faced with a difficult or emotional client, or even an angry client, you need to remember that the only emotions you can actually control are yours. Yes, you can influence their emotions, but at the end of the day, you are only truly in control of your own.

So, the question is: ‘How do you actually control your own emotions, when all around you are losing theirs?”

  • Focus on your breathing and aim to slow your breathing down so you are maintaining a slow and steady rhythm. This will help you naturally reduce your stress levels.
  • Sit or stand upright and make sure your posture is confident. It doesn’t matter whether you are taking a difficult phone call or meeting with someone in person, having a confident and upright posture will help you to manage whatever is being chucked at you.
  • Keep your speech calm and neutral. I know that this one has always worked for me when my daughter has thrown a tantrum at me. Very often by not letting your speech show emotion, you will bring your client back down into a rational state. I.e. don’t hurl more petrol onto the fire of emotions!

Acknowledge the emotions you are hearing

It can be very tempting to do the teenager thing and metaphorically say ‘Whatever’ when you are coming under a hail of emotional and aggressive language. This is the last thing you should do, even though it is very natural to try and avoid tackling what is coming at you. Once again, this is the time to realise that the only person you can control is you. You can’t control your client and what they are thinking. What you can do, and the right thing to do is to name and acknowledge what your client is going through. For example:

  • I can hear some frustration, or am I misinterpreting this?
  • I am sorry to hear this.
  • I understand how annoying this must be for you.

Very often, once you have acknowledged the emotion you are hearing will your client start to become more rational and reasonable.

Help them to the other side of the red mist state

I am sure that we have all been there, where suddenly the ‘red mist’ descends and you are no longer in control of your actions, emotions, temper or the words coming out of your mouth. It can be a very frightening situation for both people, i.e. the person experiencing the outburst of emotion and the person witnessing it.

When you have a client in this state, do not try and be logical with them until they have calmed down. Some of these techniques may help:

  • Suggesting that you both take a 10-minute breather to calm the emotions down.
  • Staying calm and centred yourself.
  • Not judging them for what they are saying in the heat of the moment.
  • Don’t tell them to ‘calm down’ – it often does the opposite!
  • Emphasise with them.

Build rapport and empathy

Empathy and rapport are a great way of helping a difficult client conversation become easier. For example:

  • identifying areas where you are both in agreement,
  • apologising for how they are feeling,
  • showing that you truly understand the client’s point of view, or
  • demonstrating that the client has been understood.

In summary

Dealing with difficult or emotional clients and tough client situations is part of being a professional advisor. The key to turning these encounters into a positive scenario is all about remaining calm and centred yourself, accepting their emotions for what they are, and taking the time to build rapport and empathise with them.

By wangecikiundu (self media writer) | 1 year ago

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

How to stay calm in difficult situations.

When things get tough, you have to get tougher and remaining calm is one of the underrated traits. Life itself is not meant to be easy, but you can make life easier by conquering your fears.

Staying calm and composed in a difficult situation is almost impossible. But do you know that there are several ways that you can use to remain calm no matter how difficult the situation is? This way, you can overcome any temptation associated with the situation. Some of the ways include;

Not talking to many people about your problems.

Many of them are not interested. They do not have a solution to your problems. Telling many people about your difficult situation might erode your confidence and mental well-being. They might start mocking you for your difficult situation.

Take note of your actions.

Accept that your actions are the only thing that can be controlled. And with your actions, you will surely find a way to get out of the difficult situation. Whatever you do in a difficult situation will help you win or lose.

Make the situation a learning opportunity

Be aware that being in a difficult situation is part of life and part of self-development. See the difficult situation as an opportunity to grow and learn.

Appreciate the situation.

Wake up every day appreciating the gift of life and read something positive. It could be a Bible or some of those spiritual books.

Focus on yourself.

Go solo, meditate a lot and journal, isolate yourself from the crowd and once again, share your problem only with trusted people that might lift you again.

Stress is a normal part of modern life, but if you’re often faced with stressful situations and feel panicked or overwhelmed trying to deal with them, you may benefit from learning some coping strategies that can help you to stay calm.

Pressure can put the body into “fight or flight” mode – an evolutionary tactic that releases hormones designed to get you ready to either fight or run from danger. In modern times, stress triggers these hormones but they’re not so helpful when the “danger” comes from giving a presentation at work rather than being faced with a wild animal. If you frequently find yourself feeling anxious, or panicked , your fight or flight mode is probably being triggered too easily and it’s helpful to learn how to calm yourself down when you’re entering this state.

1. Take a Deep Breath

Breathing deeply and slowly triggers the body to stop releasing stress hormones and start to relax. Concentrating on your breathing can also help to distract your mind from whatever is bothering you so that you focus only on what is happening at that moment.

Breathe in deeply through your nose – you should breathe all the way into your belly and not just your chest. Hold for a moment and breathe out slowly through your mouth. Take a few minutes just to breathe and you should find yourself feeling calmer quickly.

2. Focus on the Positives

Always imagining the worst case in every scenario is clinically known as catastrophic thinking and can increase anxiety and feelings of panic.

Rather than dwelling on negative aspects or outcomes, try to spend a few moments thinking positively. If your bathroom has flooded and you have to replace all the flooring, for example, this could be a very stressful situation. Yet try to focus on the fact that it gives you the opportunity to update and renovate, and the repairs should be covered by your insurance.

Staying positive allows your brain to avoid stress and stay calm.

3. Get Plenty of Sleep

Everything seems worse when you’ve haven’t had a good night’s sleep. Stress and anxiety can often lead to insomnia so you end up in a vicious cycle – not being able to sleep and then feeling worse because you haven’t had enough sleep.

Make sleep a priority, especially if you’re under a lot of pressure. Go to bed early and ban electronic devices from the bedroom. Lavender essential oil can also promote feelings of calm and help you to sleep at night.

4. Go for a Walk

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

Exercise is just as important as sleep when it comes to keeping stress in check and dealing with external pressure. Exercise prompts the body to release feel-good hormones and helps to clear your head.

If you’re under pressure at work, just five minutes of fresh air and a change of scenery could help you to feel calmer and gain a new perspective on the situation – you’ll probably realise it’s not a case of life or death anyway.

5. Meditate

Meditation has been proven to reduce stress and actually changes the brain over time so you can manage your emotions better and stay calm when you need to most.

If you think meditation is all about sitting cross-legged for hours and chanting “om”, you couldn’t be further from the truth – even a few minutes of sitting quietly and concentrating on your breathing is a beneficial form of meditation. You can also try apps like Headspace and Calm .

6. Practice Gratitude

Staying grateful for everything you have in your life – no matter how small – can keep things in perspective and help you to maintain a positive attitude.

Studies have shown that people who keep a daily gratitude journal have lower levels of cortisol – the hormone responsible for stress. Try taking a few minutes at the end of each day to write down 5 things you feel thankful for and see how much better it makes you feel.

7. Surround yourself with positive people

You probably have a few people in your life who can make you feel stressed just by being around them. While it’s not always possible to cut these people out of your life entirely, when you’re under pressure try to spend more time with friends and family who are helpful, positive, and will lift you up rather than drag you down

Retrain Your Brain for a Calmer Life

You can’t control what life will throw at you next, but you can learn to cope with pressurised situations and deal with stress in a healthy way. Making an effort to practise some of these strategies the next time you feel under pressure can help you to feel calm and able to deal with any situation.

Need help managing stress or panic attacks. Talk to our team to help find the right treatment for your situation.

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How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

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How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

How to Deal with a Difficult Client — “Keep calm and smile”

In every single business around the world, there are difficult clients you have to deal with. As I have personally experienced, there is no exception in advertising world. Clients from hell, who frustrate the whole team, make unreasonable demands and humiliate you daily on every communication channel, are unfortunately part of the business.

The account executive position requires me to deal with these people on the front line, and more importantly, pass their requirements onto the team. When you are supposed to keep the project moving, motivate all of your teammates to perform well on the task, and make sure that all deadlines are met, these clients complicate the process. So, how might you possibly deal with difficult clients and keep your sanity?

Clients may not know what they want, but they certainly know what they don’t want. Consider asking them for specific examples of what troubles them and then propose specific, measurable remedies for the problem. Also, be clear what the client is trying to accomplish, but don’t be afraid to frankly tell them why their approach won’t work.

2. Set up boundaries

Sending emails at 1 a.m. every day, calling you on the weekend, scheduling meetings after business hours, wondering why you didn’t complete that project on Christmas Day and a firm belief that he/she is the only client you could possibly have and therefore is deserving of 100 percent of your time — NO! Don’t be afraid to say no if what they want will take too much of a toll on your staff. Remind them that you do have other clients.

3. Meet Deadlines

Constant change of heart, saying one thing on a call but completely changing the opinion in an email an hour later. Agree on the timeline and the scope of work as soon as possible, and remain confident in rejecting requests that will endanger deadlines or projects for other clients. Get everything in writing once an approach is decided upon and reject major course adjustments after the fact.

4. Don’t show them your weaknesses

There are many people who will want to befriend you if you fit the description of what they think is weak–they want to be surrounded by weak people that they can dominate, because that makes them feel strong and important. Ask them what they want to accomplish and display your expertise by recommending options that achieve these goals.

5. Keep calm and smile

Do not show them your frustration and anger. When you begin to take things personally and be too emotional, it’s difficult to maintain your composure and make those around you believe that you have things under control. Keep a positive mental attitude and never stop moving forward.

Advertising practices will vary from state to state and from country to country for the simple reason that the countries and people of the world are different. We have to keep in mind that an annoying client is still a client who is paying us for services. Sometimes, we are lucky with the people we are working for, sometimes we are not. I believe that experiences like this one are perfect tools for self-development and for recognition of company and personal values.

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

How to Deal with a Difficult Client — “Keep calm and smile”

In every single business around the world, there are difficult clients you have to deal with. As I have personally experienced, there is no exception in advertising world. Clients from hell, who frustrate the whole team, make unreasonable demands and humiliate you daily on every communication channel, are unfortunately part of the business.

The account executive position requires me to deal with these people on the front line, and more importantly, pass their requirements onto the team. When you are supposed to keep the project moving, motivate all of your teammates to perform well on the task, and make sure that all deadlines are met, these clients complicate the process. So, how might you possibly deal with difficult clients and keep your sanity?

Clients may not know what they want, but they certainly know what they don’t want. Consider asking them for specific examples of what troubles them and then propose specific, measurable remedies for the problem. Also, be clear what the client is trying to accomplish, but don’t be afraid to frankly tell them why their approach won’t work.

2. Set up boundaries

Sending emails at 1 a.m. every day, calling you on the weekend, scheduling meetings after business hours, wondering why you didn’t complete that project on Christmas Day and a firm belief that he/she is the only client you could possibly have and therefore is deserving of 100 percent of your time — NO! Don’t be afraid to say no if what they want will take too much of a toll on your staff. Remind them that you do have other clients.

3. Meet Deadlines

Constant change of heart, saying one thing on a call but completely changing the opinion in an email an hour later. Agree on the timeline and the scope of work as soon as possible, and remain confident in rejecting requests that will endanger deadlines or projects for other clients. Get everything in writing once an approach is decided upon and reject major course adjustments after the fact.

4. Don’t show them your weaknesses

There are many people who will want to befriend you if you fit the description of what they think is weak–they want to be surrounded by weak people that they can dominate, because that makes them feel strong and important. Ask them what they want to accomplish and display your expertise by recommending options that achieve these goals.

5. Keep calm and smile

Do not show them your frustration and anger. When you begin to take things personally and be too emotional, it’s difficult to maintain your composure and make those around you believe that you have things under control. Keep a positive mental attitude and never stop moving forward.

Advertising practices will vary from state to state and from country to country for the simple reason that the countries and people of the world are different. We have to keep in mind that an annoying client is still a client who is paying us for services. Sometimes, we are lucky with the people we are working for, sometimes we are not. I believe that experiences like this one are perfect tools for self-development and for recognition of company and personal values.

One of the most common questions that I get from people interested in raising peafowl is: Will peafowl stay around my property if I let them free range?

There is nothing more beautiful than having a full-tailed peacock and some peahens free roaming around your property. The information that follows is the steps that I take in order to train new peafowl to stay around my farm without being confined.

The age of the peafowl is an important factor in training them to stay on your property. It is best to start with young peafowl. I like to start with yearling peafowl. Yearling peafowl are almost full-grown and they can tolerate almost any kind of weather. Their size allows them to be safe around small dogs, cats, and other small predators. I have been successful in training older peafowl to free range around my farm but it takes longer to train them. If you want to train older peafowl, try to purchase birds that were raised in covered flight pens. These birds are accustomed to being outside without being able to fly off. Peafowl that have been running loose for years around someone else’s property are hard to keep around a new home because they are accustomed to roaming wherever they want and may leave your property even if you train them by the following steps.

Prior to purchasing peafowl of any age, a small building such as a chicken house or utility shed should be made ready to house the peafowl. A box stall in a barn will also work. An outside flight pen attached to the housing area is good to have also, but not necessary. The flight pen allows the peafowl to be outside and to get accustomed to their surroundings without being able to fly off or roost in the trees. The peafowl should be kept in these quarters for at least a month while they get settled in to their new home.

The most important training step that I have found is to wing clip the peafowl prior to releasing them into the housing area. The peafowl learn very quickly that they can’t fly up to the top of the building or across the flight pen area. This inability to fly seems to calm the peafowl down a lot and makes it much easier to tame them down. Roosting areas for the peafowl will need to be only 3’ or 4’ off of the ground so that the peafowl can jump up on them and so that they won’t injure themselves when they jump down to the floor.

Feed and water the peafowl daily while they are in confinement so that they get accustomed to their owner. Give the peafowl treats such as lettuce trimmings, raisins, grapes, tomatoes, white bread, etc. to make them tamer. After a month has passed, pick a day when the weather is good and allow the peafowl to come out of their enclosure on their own. Do not force them out of the enclosure. Observe their behavior and allow them to investigate their surroundings. Do not allow dogs to chase them during this time. Peafowl and dogs can coexist but don’t let the dogs get in the habit of chasing the peafowl. Allow the peafowl to free range for a half a day and then herd them back into their enclosure. Repeat this process for several days, allowing the peafowl to free range for longer periods of time each day. I would suggest that the peafowl be put in their enclosure every night for several months. It will take several months for the clipped wing to grow back which makes them vulnerable to predators. I continue to put my free ranging peafowl in an enclosure at night so that I don’t have to worry about predators and it makes it much easier to collect eggs. I do not allow my peafowl to free range during the winter months due to the harsh winter weather that we have in Indiana at times.

I have used this process many times to train my peafowl to stay on my farm. I enjoy seeing free ranging peafowl and I am sure that you will also.

How to Stay Calm Until You Find Out If You Are Hired

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

When you leave a job interview, you usually know how it went—but not always. Sometimes you are confident you did well, but other times you are well aware your performance could have been better.

Until the employer gets back to you with a job offer or rejection, you won’t know for sure. Until then, you will be in limbo, wondering whether you will have to continue searching for work or getting ready to start a new job. What can you do while anxiously waiting for a job offer?

Here are nine tips to keep in mind when waiting for that call or email.

1. Don’t Leave Your Current Job

If you are currently employed, don’t do anything that could alert your boss you might be leaving soon. Until you accept an offer from another employer, you shouldn’t let on that you are going to quit your job. Go to work every day and do your job well. Take on new projects. You can always transfer them over to a colleague if you leave. While you may be sure you are going to get an offer any day, you can’t be entirely certain until you have one in hand. Unless your bank account can handle it, it is prudent to keep those paychecks coming in while you search for a new job.

2. Prepare Your Response to a Job Offer

Immediately following the interview, you may be quite sure you will accept, but to help avoid problems later on, consider a possible offer carefully. If you don’t already know how to do it, learn what steps you should take to negotiate salary. Find out what the typical salaries are in your field. Consider your level of experience and education, as well as your geographic area.

3. Research the Employer

Do some more research about the employer. Hopefully, you learned about the organization before your interview, but you can always get more information. Keep up with the latest news about the company and the industry in general. This information will help you decide whether to take the job if you get an offer. You may even learn something that will change your mind about the organization and turn down the offer instead. At the very least, it will result in a smoother transition to the new job.

4. Follow Up

Contact the prospective employer one week after your interview unless the interviewer told you when a hiring decision would be announced. In that case, get in touch no sooner than a week after that date. Contact them using the method by which you communicated before the interview. Don’t make multiple attempts to email or phone your contact person. Once is enough.

5. Keep Looking

Continue your job search campaign until you get an offer. If you don’t get this job, you will eventually get another, but not if you pause your search every time you have a promising interview. Whenever you stop looking for work, you risk losing momentum. If you have other interviews lined up, don’t postpone them. Continue to network. You may even get a superior offer.

6. Stay Calm

Try to keep your anxiety in check. It is difficult to stay calm while it feels like your career is in limbo, but try to do it anyway. One way to do that is to keep busy. The more you have to do, the less you will be able to think about whether or not you got a job offer. Focusing on your current job or your search for a new one will, for the most part, keep you occupied.

7. Find Distractions

While being busy will keep your mind off waiting for a job offer, you should also take time to relax. If you are working, try not to stay late every night. If you are job-searching, don’t do it 24/7. Whether you relax by exercising, going to a movie, reading a book, or binge-watching your favorite television show, find time for it.

8. Go Outside

If you are unemployed, make sure to get out of the house every day. Tend to your job search from the library or a coffee shop with free Wi-Fi. Go for a walk and don’t bring your phone with you. If the prospective employer tries to call, they will leave a voicemail. Check your messages before the end of the business day so that you don’t have to wait overnight before you can return them.

9. Don’t Obsess Over Job Offer Call Time of Day

You can drive yourself crazy wondering when an employer is most likely to call. But that obviously is highly dependent on the individual company and the hiring manager’s personal schedule. One survey found that most hires are made on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the former slightly beating out the latter, but there isn’t a huge difference between any of the weekdays.  

As for the time of day, the truth is that most interviewers will extend a job offer when they get to it, and that could be any time.

A person’s behaviour can be defined as “challenging” if it puts them or those around them (such as their carer) at risk, or leads to a poorer quality of life.

It can also impact their ability to join in everyday activities.

Challenging behaviour can include:

  • aggression
  • self-harm
  • destructiveness
  • disruptiveness

Challenging behaviour is often seen in people with health problems that affect communication and the brain, such as learning disabilities or dementia.

What can you do to help?

As a carer, try to understand why the person you look after is behaving in this way. For example, they might feel anxious or bored, or be in pain.

If you can recognise the early warning signs, you may be able to prevent behavioural outbursts.

For example, if being in a large group of people makes the person you care for feel anxious and they become agitated, you could arrange for them to be in a smaller group or have 1-to-1 support.

Some people find a distraction can focus a person’s energies elsewhere and prevent them displaying challenging behaviour.

The person you care for might behave in a challenging way to get your attention.

If this is the case, consider not responding directly to their behaviour – although you should not ignore them completely.

But if their behaviour puts them or someone else at risk, you’ll need to intervene as calmly as possible.

Professional help

If you’re finding it hard to cope with the behaviour of the person you look after, ask a GP to refer you to a specialist.

The specialist will want to know what situations or people trigger the behaviour, what the early warning signs are, and what happens afterwards.

In extreme circumstances – for example, if the person’s behaviour is harmful to themselves or others and all methods of calming them have been tried – a doctor may prescribe medicine.

If you’re concerned about the side effects of medicine, speak to the person’s GP.

Tips for carers

  • seek support – many organisations for people with learning disabilities or dementia have schemes to connect carers with others in a similar situation
  • share your experiences – contact your local carers support group or call the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053
  • get respite care for the person you look after so you can take a break. Your local council can provide respite care after a needs assessment for the person you care for, or a carer’s assessment for you
  • keep in touch with friends and family members – they can be an important source of practical and emotional support
  • do not be tempted to restrain the person you look after unless you believe their behaviour is putting them at risk and they do not have the mental ability or capacity to make a decision. Find out about Lasting Power of Attorney and restraint

Sexual behaviour in adults

Sexually inappropriate behaviour in adults who need care can be a result of a mental health or neurological condition, such as dementia.

  • undressing in public
  • fondling genitals
  • touching someone inappropriately

For more information on sex and disabilities, call the The Outsiders Trust helpline on 07872 681 982.

You may not be able to stop a person engaging in inappropriate sexual behaviour, but there are ways you can address it:

  • think about or ask the person why they’re acting in a certain way. For example, if they start to undress in public, are they hot or uncomfortable?
  • stay calm
  • treat the situation with humour, rather than getting angry
  • distract their attention, rather than getting confrontational
  • if other people are present, explain to them that the behaviour is because of an illness and is not personal
  • keep a diary to see if you can find a pattern in their behaviour – for example, whether it’s more likely to occur in certain situations, with the same people present, or at certain times of the day or night

If you’re finding it difficult to control the behaviour of the person you look after, speak to social services or their GP.

Practical tips if you care for someone

Page last reviewed: 15 March 2021
Next review due: 15 March 2024

One of the most common questions that I get from people interested in raising peafowl is: Will peafowl stay around my property if I let them free range?

There is nothing more beautiful than having a full-tailed peacock and some peahens free roaming around your property. The information that follows is the steps that I take in order to train new peafowl to stay around my farm without being confined.

The age of the peafowl is an important factor in training them to stay on your property. It is best to start with young peafowl. I like to start with yearling peafowl. Yearling peafowl are almost full-grown and they can tolerate almost any kind of weather. Their size allows them to be safe around small dogs, cats, and other small predators. I have been successful in training older peafowl to free range around my farm but it takes longer to train them. If you want to train older peafowl, try to purchase birds that were raised in covered flight pens. These birds are accustomed to being outside without being able to fly off. Peafowl that have been running loose for years around someone else’s property are hard to keep around a new home because they are accustomed to roaming wherever they want and may leave your property even if you train them by the following steps.

Prior to purchasing peafowl of any age, a small building such as a chicken house or utility shed should be made ready to house the peafowl. A box stall in a barn will also work. An outside flight pen attached to the housing area is good to have also, but not necessary. The flight pen allows the peafowl to be outside and to get accustomed to their surroundings without being able to fly off or roost in the trees. The peafowl should be kept in these quarters for at least a month while they get settled in to their new home.

The most important training step that I have found is to wing clip the peafowl prior to releasing them into the housing area. The peafowl learn very quickly that they can’t fly up to the top of the building or across the flight pen area. This inability to fly seems to calm the peafowl down a lot and makes it much easier to tame them down. Roosting areas for the peafowl will need to be only 3’ or 4’ off of the ground so that the peafowl can jump up on them and so that they won’t injure themselves when they jump down to the floor.

Feed and water the peafowl daily while they are in confinement so that they get accustomed to their owner. Give the peafowl treats such as lettuce trimmings, raisins, grapes, tomatoes, white bread, etc. to make them tamer. After a month has passed, pick a day when the weather is good and allow the peafowl to come out of their enclosure on their own. Do not force them out of the enclosure. Observe their behavior and allow them to investigate their surroundings. Do not allow dogs to chase them during this time. Peafowl and dogs can coexist but don’t let the dogs get in the habit of chasing the peafowl. Allow the peafowl to free range for a half a day and then herd them back into their enclosure. Repeat this process for several days, allowing the peafowl to free range for longer periods of time each day. I would suggest that the peafowl be put in their enclosure every night for several months. It will take several months for the clipped wing to grow back which makes them vulnerable to predators. I continue to put my free ranging peafowl in an enclosure at night so that I don’t have to worry about predators and it makes it much easier to collect eggs. I do not allow my peafowl to free range during the winter months due to the harsh winter weather that we have in Indiana at times.

I have used this process many times to train my peafowl to stay on my farm. I enjoy seeing free ranging peafowl and I am sure that you will also.

Anna is the Editor-in-Chief and Content Strategist of Lifehack. She’s also a communication expert and shares tips on happiness and relationships. Read full profile

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

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Negative situations happen all the time. We can’t avoid them, so how can we counteract their negative effect on our lives and our attitudes?

Learning the power of positive thinking helps us stay positive even in the midst of tragedy. Learning how to stay positive in negative situations is invaluable in leading a healthy lifestyle. Here are 7 ways you can achieve this:

1. Have a Positive Support Group

It’s important to have a positive support group that will help each member through difficult times.

Notice that I said a “positive” support group. Surrounding yourself with positive people will help you stay positive when in a negative situation.

There are plenty of negative people out there—avoid them! Their negative attitudes will only bring you down and be counterproductive to what you are trying to achieve by practicing positive thinking.

Learn more about the power of people around you: The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You.

2. Express What You Are Grateful For

Even in the worst of times, most of us realize that we still have things in our lives for which we are grateful. Voice those blessings!

Practice gratitude (here’s how.) Talk about the things you are grateful for with your closest friends, your support group. Keep a gratitude journal to capture the thankfulness you feel for what you have on a daily basis.

Actively acknowledging what you’re grateful for will help you to always have a grateful mind and heart, even when bad things happen.

3. Retrain Your Mind

Are you a person who continually beats yourself up mentally? Do you constantly question your actions?

Believe me, I’ve been there. Nobody needs to call me stupid, because I can do that just fine myself!

Retrain your brain to stop doing that to yourself. The more you talk negatively to yourself, the more that negativity will become a part of you.

Instead, practice the power of positive thinking. Any time a negative thought comes into your mind, replace it with a positive one. At some point, this will become more natural as your brain automatically turns a negative into a positive.

Although it might not feel like it at the time, most negative situations contain a learning experience. If we’re going through the discomfort and pain of dealing with a negative situation, we might as well take the opportunity to learn something from it too.

Shifting your mindset and looking for the lesson in the situation isn’t about blaming yourself or anyone else for what’s happened. Instead, the purpose of doing this is to get something positive out of the situation and, hopefully, to prevent it from occurring again in the future.

4. Exercise Your Body And Mind

We know that exercise is good for our bodies, but what about our minds?

Sure, it is! It releases those natural endorphins in our brains that make us feel better.

Exercise has physical as well as mental and emotional benefits. Getting out there and moving around will keep your body in better shape, as well as boosting your self-esteem for having the discipline to exercise.

You might try adding yoga into your exercise routine now and then to help you learn to really focus and meditate. Exercise is an excellent way to fight the negative effects of bad situations.

5. Accept and Find Solutions

Many of us are resistant to changes in our lives. What we must do is learn to accept that change will happen.

Haven’t you heard that “the only constant in life is change”? There is a lot of truth to that, as we continually go through changes, whether good or bad. Accepting that changes are a part of life can help us to relax and be more accepting. Try to look for the positive aspect.

For example, if you’re in a bad job situation, what do you do? Accept it and try to make it better? Possibly. Or maybe this is the chance to make a change for yourself and look for that job you really want.

We can’t always control the situation that we find ourselves in, and we can’t please everyone. What we can do when we find ourselves in a negative situation is to take ownership of our actions and make amends for our mistakes.

If you find yourself in a negative situation, trying to take responsibility for things you have no control over will only make you feel worse. It’s also self-defeating as, if you don’t have control over something then there’s usually not much you can do to change it.

For example, if you’re catching a flight to an important event and the flight is delayed, there’s not much point in worrying about whether it’s going to be delayed further or cancelled, as you don’t have any control over that outcome. What you can do is let any contacts you have at your destination know about the situation or even try to book a different flight to make sure you get there as soon as possible.

6. Practice Self-Compassion

Every negative situation is a chance to practice a valuable skill: self-compassion. The amount of self-compassion we show ourselves is directly proportionate to our quality of life. If we’re able to practice self-compassion, we’re more likely to be resilient in the face of challenging situations and we’re more likely to take risks that further our personal and professional development. We’re also more likely to take steps to amend any role that we played in creating the negative situation in the first place.

Self-compassion is not the same as giving yourself a free ride or not taking responsibility for your actions. Instead, it’s about accepting that you are a human being with human experiences.

7. Remember It Will Pass

Life is a process of highs, lows, and everything in between. Just as this means that negative situations are an inevitability, it also means that they will inevitably pass and make way for more positive times.

Our job is to take what we can from the negative situations, whether it’s a lesson well learned, or a renewed trust in our strength and resilience, and to enjoy the good times while they last.

Final Thoughts

Negative situations are uncomfortable, even painful at times. But how we approach these situations has a huge influence over how we experience them.

More tragic changes, such as death, will throw us off even worse. But when our brains are practiced on how to stay positive in negative situations, even tragedy won’t destroy us.

With the power of positive thinking, we can learn to put negative situations in perspective and to deal with them as they arise.

Violent crime is deeply entrenched in some developing countries, particularly in Latin America. Our experts offer these solutions to bringing down high rates

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

A focus on certain groups such as young males between 10-29 years old can help to reduce violence. Photograph: LUNAE PARRACHO/REUTERS

A focus on certain groups such as young males between 10-29 years old can help to reduce violence. Photograph: LUNAE PARRACHO/REUTERS

Treat violence as a public health concern: We need to use campaigns and technology to reach every child and family in these countries. We need to develop those tools to make sure that everybody feels important and cared for through parenting interventions, family interventions, wellbeing campaigns, and early childhood education. Anilena Mejia, research fellow, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Localise programmes: During the 90s in Rio we had rates of homicide that would go beyond epidemic levels (over 100 per 100,000 citizens). It took a really costly but comprehensive programme in Brazil called Pronasci to tie up a lot of elements that were drivers of violence in the country, building local frameworks, gun-free zones and fostering civic culture to reduce violence, which has been the case in Bogotá, Medellín in Colombia and Santa Tecla in El Salvador. Natasha Leite de Moura, project adviser, public security programme, United Nations, Lima, Peru

Focus on hotspots: We’ve got scientific evidence that a focus on hotspots and ‘hot people’ can prevent or reduce violence. But we need also accompany this with other measures – urban upgrading, better urban planning, situational prevention – especially early childhood intervention. Robert Muggah, research director of Igarapé Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the SecDev Foundation, Canada

Look at the whole picture: While people are aware that there are high levels of lethal violence in Brazil, this is often misrepresented by national and international media as a simple cops vs robbers dynamic – a misrepresentation that more often than not criminalises poverty. Much more work needs to be done on understanding the official and unofficial social, political and economic structures that sustain these high levels. Damian Platt, researcher, activist and author, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Create well-targeted programmes: If the goal is to reduce homicides, then programme selection should be located in hotspot areas and focused on the population group most likely to commit violence crimes, often young males between 10-29 years old. The risk factors for why these young men get involved in criminality also needs to be clearly diagnosed and complemented with a treatment plan that involves the family and community. Enrique Roig, director, citizen security, Creative Associates, Washington, DC

Focus on prevention: Prison populations are overflowing, crime is high and violence is a culture in South Africa. The focus needs to be on preventing the conditions that draw people into violent or criminal behaviour. In order to do this we need a systematic, integrated, coordinated approach combining the responsibilities of a wide range of state and non-state actors. Venessa Padayachee, national advocacy and lobbying manager, Nicro, Cape Town, South Africa

Avoid repressive policies: Many countries have approached the problem of violence from a crime and security angle, focusing their action on law-enforcement only. Unfortunate examples of this are the ‘mano dura’ tactics in Central America. While justice and police have an important role to play, repression only is counter-productive if not combined with development interventions that look at the drivers of violence, and tackle things like skills and education of youth, socio-economic inequalities, and access to communal services. Luigi De Martino, senior researcher, Small Arms Survey, Geneva

Be proactive: You have to systematically invest in protective factors. Supporting proactive community associations and schools to activate their involvement has also demonstrated positive results in places such as Cape Town, Chicago and New York. In addition, promoting links between neighbouring communities that adjoin each other is also important. John de Boer, senior policy adviser, United Nations University, Centre for Policy Research, Tokyo, Japan

Don’t forget about male violence: There are lots of interventions that are focused on women’s rights. These are noble. But the vast majority of killings I have seen around the world are by men on men. I think this needs to be addressed. The international community focuses a great deal on the impact of violence against women. If you address the male drivers of violence, you reduce the female harm of violence. Iain Overton, author, Gun Baby Gun, London

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

Officers from the CORE police special forces patrol during an operation to search for fugitives in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

But treat male and female violence as the same issue: Male and female dimensions of violence are connected. We need to look at these issues comprehensively rather than a divide and conquer approach. Research has shown it is not just about single risk factors (i.e. being a male is a risk factor) that determines violence – rather it is the accumulation of risk factors that produce violence. John de Boer

Move away from the focus on poverty: Criminalising certain areas or groups makes it harder for people to actually coexist, and the emphasis on poverty is a misleading one. Latin America proves as long as history of studies that show poverty and violence do not have a direct correlation. Countries are overcoming extreme poverty and becoming more violent, so it is now part of our job to look beyond those solutions and what other factors may be driving those rates. Natasha Leite

Focus on gun control: Where there are no guns, there are no gun deaths. A simple and practical way to start impacting armed violence is to try to stem the flow of illegal guns. I believe in the gun control approach as a first step. Iain Overton

Understand that violence is going virtual: Cyberspace is a new domain for violence. This ranges from the use of social media to project force (videos showing assassinations, torture, threats), to recruit would-be members of extremist groups (digitally savvy marketing campaigns, online chat sites), for selling product (deep web), and also for more banal but no less important forms of intimidation and coercion (bullying). Violence is going virtual, and we need to get a much better handle on all of this. Robert Muggah

Follow these guidelines for challenging encounters and fighting “fair.”

How to stay calm around difficult in‐laws

Most everyone dreads the difficult, challenging conversation. This includes conversations in which we have to deliver unpleasant news, discuss a delicate subject, or talk about something that needs to change or has gone wrong.

Just thinking about having these conversations—whether with one’s partner, children (particularly adolescent or adult children), relatives, friends, or co-workers—can fill you with anxiety and trepidation, taking up space in your mind and distracting you from other important considerations that require your attention.

The anxiety can relate to concerns about bringing up a sensitive issue, being uncomfortable with setting or enforcing limits, or worry about how the other person will react. People may be fearful that the conversation will precipitate bad feelings or conflict. Because these kinds of conversations can create such discomfort, it’s natural and normal to want to avoid having them altogether. The problem with avoidance is that, in the absence of a situation resolving on its own, putting it off only allows it to continue and potentially get worse.

Planning and preparing can help turn down the volume of your apprehension and make it much more likely that the difficult conversations you need to have will be successful. As legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden put it, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

Preparation

For challenging or difficult topics, it’s best to plan to have the conversation in advance: “I’d like to talk with you about. ” or “We really need to talk about. ” Then, mutually agree on a time and a place for the conversation, and agree to meet in a place with enough space for all participants to be “comfortable enough” and to see each other clearly.

It’s never helpful to collect and hold on to feelings of frustration, anger, or resentment for days, weeks, or longer, and then dump them on another person all at once. Whenever possible, try to discuss challenging issues as they come up or soon thereafter.

Ground Rules

  • As much as possible, stay at about the same eye level. In other words, it’s best if everyone participating is either seated or standing. It’s generally not helpful for one person to be physically “above” or “below” others.
  • Speak directly to the other person(s).
  • Speak as calmly in a matter-of-fact tone as possible. This maximizes the chances that others will hear the content of your message, rather than fixate on your emotions.
  • Avoid finger-pointing, whether blaming or literally pointing fingers. This tends to make the other person(s) feel that he or she is being lectured or put down.
  • Avoid name-calling, yelling, screaming, cursing, put-downs, insults, or threats (emotional or physical). When any of these happen, the only thing other people hear is anger and attack. As a result, they are likely to leave, shut down, or attack as well. Treating others with respect is essential to healthy communication.
  • In describing your concerns and the things you’d like to happen differently, be as clear as possible and use specific examples. Avoid the words “always,” “never,” “everything,” and “nothing.” These may express your frustration and upset, but they overgeneralize and are fundamentally inaccurate. As part of a communication process, they are unhelpful.
  • No interrupting. When the other person is speaking, consciously listen to what he or she has to say with the intent of hearing it. This is very different from waiting for the other person to finish speaking so you can respond. If you’re thinking about what you’re going to say in response, while he or she is still speaking, you’re not listening.
  • Make sure you understand what the other person has said before you respond. If you’re not sure what he or she said or meant, ask for clarification. “Could you please repeat that?” “I’m not sure what you mean. Can you please help me better understand?”
  • Approach the conversation with openness and an interest in problem solving, rather than needing to be “right.” Anytime we see it as a competition where we need to be “right,” it means the other person has to be “wrong.” This kind of rigid either-or, win-lose, or right-wrong mindset makes conflict much more likely and mutual understanding much less likely.
  • Keep to the topic at hand. Focus on the topic of this conversation. Bringing up issues or complaints related to other topics or past events always interferes with healthy communication during the current conversation. Save those other issues for another time. If they continue to be important to you, you’ll remember them.
  • Do not walk away or leave the conversation without the other person’s agreement. Allow for the possibility of time-outs. It’s important to discuss and mutually agree to the concept of a “time-out” as needed. Time-outs are not just for young children or professional sports teams. If things start to become too heated, it’s important for people to be able to take a time-out. Time-outs give people the opportunity and the space to calm down and compose themselves, making it possible to continue.
  • Take responsibility for feeling the way you do, rather than blaming the other person. No one can make you feel a specific way. Use “I” statements — as in, “I feel. ” Be clear and specific about what the other person did that contributed to your reaction. Rather than saying, “You make me so mad,” focus on the other person’s actual behaviors.
  • Drop your assumptions. Just because you have been living or working together for a period of time doesn’t mean you know what the other person is feeling or thinking. People grow and change. What you want, need, or expect from each other changes and may need to be renegotiated from time to time.

Ultimately, you cannot control how the other person(s) will react to your efforts to engage them in challenging but necessary conversations. However, by being well prepared and following these guidelines, you can improve the skillfulness of your participation and maximize the chances that the conversation will serve its intended purpose.

Author of Some Assembly Required: A Balanced Approach to Recovery from Addiction and Chronic Pain and Discover Recovery: A Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Workbook (available April, 2017).