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New year .. Resolving Outstanding Disputes

January is already over, but the year is still young- meaning, we have 11 more months of the year to reduce our stress and clutter. What is one thing we can do to accomplish stress-reduction? Dispute resolution. This can range from something "big" like resolving a lawsuit or threatened legal action, to something "smaller" like mending a dispute with a friend, family member or business partner; or perhaps resolving a dispute with yourself?

Here are 5 steps toward reaching the resolution goal.

First step is: Intention. In whatever form your dispute exists, make the "Intention" to resolve it. Don't worry how it will happen- simply make that intention first. Even better, write it down in a journal, your daily planner, wherever it will capture and memorialize the intention.

Second, be clear on what you need to resolve. Whether the dispute involves a claim of discrimination, harassment tor other injury, or an agreement or trust was breached, whether in a court case, or a pre-formalization threat to take legal action; or a verbal (or text/email) dispute between two people, figure out and be clear on WHAT is at stake here; What can you control? (Usually only the portion on your side). What are all of the issues that arise from this dispute?

Third, visualize or write down all thoughts and ideas about how that dispute can be resolved. It is best to break this down into three (3) parts: (1) What are YOUR needs? (2) What are the needs of the OTHER person/side? (3) How do you blend those needs to come up with a possible solution? Some people act purely out of emotion and have difficulty isolating what the true underlying issue is. This is the place where you focus in on the issue to try and understand it better - how did it arise? what started it? what is needed to fix it? Do people need to be heard by a neutral third person? Do they need to talk it out among themselves? On the other hand, some people are clear on the issue, and perhaps even their needs, but have difficulty focusing on the "OTHER's" needs or point of view. Take some time, when you're ready, to try and look at the dispute from someone else's angle- you don't have to agree with it! least look at it. Maybe if able, try to understand it from their perspective.

Fourth, Get ready and set a mindset, to resolve this dispute. Think of the many reasons why this will benefit you: (1) to reduce, or eliminate a stressor; (2) to free up head space for more creative, positive thoughts and ideas, which will help you in your work, your relationships, and overall mind and body; (3) to free up time- time you are already, or will be spending on the dispute and repercussions from having the dispute. (4) to get better sleep; (5) to heal your mind and body. Cortisol emanates from stress (as well as from lack of sleep) and creates inflammation inside your brain and body. That can lead to injury, illness, weight gain, etc. (6) to feel happier and reduce anxiety; (7) to move forward, get that job or promotion that has eluded you, proceed with goals that were put on hold, such as going to college or working on an advanced degree; starting an exercise program; traveling; spending more quality time with your spouse, SO, children, grandchildren, etc.

Fifth, Take Action...If it is a formal dispute such as litigation or a threatened lawsuit, set a private mediation, or settlement conference with the court. If it is a relationship that needs mending, reach out to the other person to set up a conversation, go to lunch or coffee or dinner; Do whatever is needed to get yourself to a place or method for resolution (in-person, on-line, face-time or Skype-BUT: whatever you do, it should be visual not just over e

mails or texts, ANYTHING except emails, texts or social media, except to set up the meeting/discussion.) And if needed, seek help from someone who is a professional to facilitate the encounter.

We have control over one thing - ourselves. Wishing you all a joyful happy 2019!

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