Joy Ignites Success

Internal Conflict and Managing Stress

By - Monday, July 28, 2014

My last two blog posts addressed external conflict. In today’s post we will look at how the same skills can be applied to internal conflict, or feeling conflicted. Too often, when there’s internal conflict, we turn to the mind to find a solution. We try to weigh out both sides of the problem (like the rational adults we are, ha) but more often than not, this leads to feeling more confused and more conflicted.

Similar to external conflict, the first step is self-awareness.  How do you feel about being torn or confused? The mind hates the experience of confusion and will do whatever it can to end it. But we are more than just thinking. We don’t have to follow the mind’s aversion to confusion. Believe it or not, it is possible to love being confused. And, in fact, the more we can allow ourselves to be confused, to not know the answer, the sooner the facts and feelings will sort themselves out.
I am speaking now to the concept you may have heard of ‘what we resist, persists’. When we resist anything, we are giving it energy and it gets stronger.
If we approach internal conflict as an opportunity for growth and change, the same as we approach external conflict, we are transforming the experience into an adventure. We can say, ‘wow, cool, I’m conflicted, so many options, fun!”  
We can take the same exercises and the same tips for dealing with external conflict and apply them to ourselves.

Tip #1- Breathe- easy enough, this is already an individual activity
Tip #2-Acknowledge the feelings- notice if feeling conflicted creates fear, anxiety, anger, sadness..
Tip #3- Shift your body posture- find the posture of not having a clear answer, then find the posture as if you knew the answer

Tip #4- Find right space in room- this one is harder to do by yourself, moving away from yourself physically is rather challenging. Instead, try imagining moving away from yourself and the conflict.
Tip #5- Use curiosity to imagine an outrageously wonderful outcome- no adjustment needed, just imagine..
Tip #6- Play with I’m in/I’m out. Feel in body, even jump in/out of imaginary circle.- do this with both sides of the internal conflict
Tip #7- Find a gentle and conscious push back- the conversation would be in your own mind and body, when you hear the voice that says “do it this way”, instead of forcefully pushing it away, feel a softer and more gentle “no thanks” or “not now”
Tip #8- Find a conscious yield- similar to tip #7, instead of giving in, feel a soft and willing yes
Tip #9- If you’re anticipating conflict, notice there’s an expectation and you are holding a picture in mind. Let go of the picture.- sometimes we anticipate internal conflict as well, if so, let it go
Tip #10- If you are worried about a particular outcome, throw a worry party and exaggerate it- you may be worrying that you will not resolve the conflict, or that any resolution to the internal conflict will create an undesirable outcome. Give yourself permission to consciously have fun with the worrying. Let it get so big that it begins to feel silly.


Are you more averse to internal or external conflict?

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About MSI

Melanie Smithson Institute is dedicated to enriching lives through embodied education and training; using movement, play and releasing to connect with innate wisdom and joy.  

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