6 Step Guide for Creating Peace in Your Life

In time for International Peace Day on Sept. 21

Sep 20, 2013

Image from Flickr user ViaMoi

Conflicts arise every day, whether folks are fighting over a parking space or having a disagreement with a coworker. In these times of heightened tension, it can be difficult to release your inner peacemaker and make a rocky situation calmer. Just in time for International Day of Peace on September 21, below are some tips for switching gears and putting on your peace hat, making an effort to create common ground between others or within yourself.

1. LISTEN
While most of us usually have a response ready to go, taking a step back and listening to
someone fully before responding can do wonders. To go even further and try active listening - hear what the person is saying, wait until they have finished speaking, and then restate or paraphrase what you have heard them say in your own words.

Image from Flickr user moriza

2. MAINTAIN A CALM TONE
When tensions rise - so do voices, often resulting in a more frenzied and conflict-prone situation. Maintain a calm and even tone when addressing your peers, being sure to notice the lilts and volume of your voice. If it is difficult for you to observe how your voice changes, take a beat and remain quiet for three seconds, collecting your thoughts and refocusing on the point you would like to get across.

Image from Flickr user wickenden

3. BE IN THE PRESENT
Disagreements have a way of dredging up the past, and bringing up old events that are either unresolved or still hurtful. Focus on the present situation, making an effort to speak about recent events and their immediate impact. While the past can be used as a context, it is important to remember that the conflict is happening in the present - now is the opportunity to find a resolution.

Image by Flickr user Toni Blay

4. THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX
Creativity can be the name of the game when looking to resolve an issue. Give yourself the license to think outside of the box by brainstorming different ways to approach the situation, no matter how extreme it may seem. By letting your mind run free, you can break through the constraints of the issue at hand and perhaps gain the clarity you need to create a resolution that suits everybody.

Image by Flickr user JSitthi

5. BE OBJECTIVE
While it’s easy to understand why something bothers us, it can be a lot more challenging to comprehend how the other side feels. True peacemaking can happen only if all sides are heard and understood. To that end, put aside your personal feelings for the moment, and get inside of the head of the others involved - understand their perception of the situation, mindset and emotions. 

Image from Flickr user Sepehr Ehsani

6. BE IN TUNE WITH YOURSELF
To exercise your peacemaking skills, you need to understand how you operate - what makes you tick, what sets you off, how you maintain calm in a stressful situation – to best bring peace to yourself and others. 

Image from Peace Revolution 2010