Free Stress Assessment: How is your conflict-related stress level in this time of COVID?
We all have conflicts in our lives - big and small - at various times. It is normal. When we the stress of anticipated or unresolved conflict increases and doesn't go away so easily anymore, it contributes to all of the other stressors in our lives. Our risk of health problems increase with it.
DURING THIS TIME OF COVID there has been a horrible increase in the level of stress most of us are experiencing, leading to conflicts that just don't seem to go away. In fact, often it feels like its getting worse.
Completing this assessment now might be a valuable step for you towards clearing away (or dealing with) the various stresses — known and unknown — that might be making life more challenging than it needs to be or, perhaps even, damaging your health.
It will provide you with some clues as to what you might be able to do to strengthen your resilience in conflict situations. There are many factors that cause stress and chronic conflict. COVID is a great trigger for hidden areas of conflict to surface and even to blow up.
Instead of giving up and hoping that COVID will go away, this is the time to change how you respond to conflict and the stress it causes you.
Completing this assessment gives you the first crucial building block - awareness of the role of conflict in your life. Your conflict management 'muscles' will get revitalized. Restoration of damaged relationships and future pro-active management of conflict can follow, along with significantly reduced stress levels.
By submitting this assessment, you may also qualify for a free 45 minute consultation with Delphine du Toit. These sessions are completely free, carry no obligation and are being conducted in support of a stress-related research project in this time of COVID. (If you are interested in receiving a free consultation with Delphine, please indicate so in the last section of the assessment.)
You are required to enter your email address below in order to proceed - this helps the research team with spam management. You will receive an acknowledgement and a personal report from us upon receipt of your completed questionnaire, but your email will NOT be added to or sold as part of an emailing list for bulk mailing without your explicit permission. We are bound by the privacy laws of the Province of Nova Scotia, Canada, in that reward.
1 How much conflict are you tolerating in your life right now?
Too much to bear
A great deal
More than I think I should
No more than I can handle
None, at this time
How to think about this question
"Conflict" may sound like an extreme a word and so you can't picture that it may be in your life. Maybe there is a conversation you had that went wrong - that resulted in bad feelings between you and the other person. It could be something you regretted saying and it feels like your relationship has been damaged as a result. It could be that the other person said something critical or insensitive to you, or demanded something you can't/won't give. It could be that you're all torn up inside about a decision you have made/have to make and you just can't settle down. All of these are conflict - sometimes external, sometimes internal. Always disturbing/unsettling.
2 Rate the level of pain/hurt you're experiencing as a result of current unresolved conflicts or disagreements
No pain at all
It is unbearable
How stress and conflict affect you life
Stress is a natural and necessary part of life. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors developed an automatic fight or flight response to protect them from predators and other dangers. When we perceive a threat, our bodies pump out Adrenaline and other hormones that increase blood flow, boost energy levels and make us capable of doing exceptional things in the short-term, to defend ourselves. What's important to remember is that it is intended as a SHORT-TERM response - our stress response helps us to defend ourselves quickly or to get away as fast as we can. And then it's over and we go back to normal.
Modern life has done away with those ancient kinds of threat, for the most part. You're not likely to have to face down a sabre tooth cat or an angry mammoth. You ARE likely facing one or more of the following: constant deadlines, paying bills, juggling childcare, interacting within different teams and groups at work and in the community, fear of job loss or difficult conversations about job performance or what's to be done about an ill or dying relative, a cheating partner, along with the impact of COVID - possible job loss, loneliness/isolation, risk of being infected and falling ill, or passing on the virus, worry about a loved one who is already ill from it, and much more.
What comes with modern life is the cumulative negative health effect of stress that is experienced over an extended period of time. The longer chronic stress lasts the worse it gets for both mind and body. Unresolved disagreements and conflict add to your stress load in addition to affecting your relationships with the people in your life, on several levels - the first is the level at which the original conflict occurred; the second is the people who comprise your social circle and support system.
Your unresolved feelings about the conflict or disagreement have a subtle influence in your general state of mind and social behaviour could include feeling fatigued, not being able to concentrate, loss of sleep, or being irrationally irritable, with unexpected outbursts of anger in situations that wouldn't normally warrant it. It can lead to depression. Apparently sudden emotional stresses, especially anger, on top of an already stress-laden body, can trigger a heart attack.
3 How much of your mental energy is taken up with mulling over and worrying about the unresolved conflicts in your life?
Less than 5%
More than 70%
4 If you feel that conflict is too much part of your life, who are the other people involved? (Check as many boxes as are relevant)
My life partner/spouse
My business partner
A work colleague
A supplier of service
Myself (internal conflict about unresolved issue/s)
5 What is your normal response to a situation of disagreement or conflict with another person?
I argue and like to have the last word
I hate confrontation and argument so I just withdraw
I go silent and wait until I can get out of there
I try to involve someone who will help us sort things out
I fight for what I know is right
I try to understand the other person's point of view
I insist on the other person respecting my point of view
I do what I can to reach a compromise
I try to involve other people who will support my side
I walk away
The most commonly used instrument for assessing personal approaches to conflict is the Thomas-Killmann conflict mode assessment. It contains 5 key categories of conflict style:
We all have our own natural conflict style - it is influenced by our culture, our family upbringing, our personality and our life experiences. It does not mean that we don't sometimes use one of the other conflict styles, it just means that it is our go-to style - our default behavior. It is very helpful to know what your natural conflict style is, so that you can judge, in a conflict situation, whether to follow your natural instinct or whether it is time to pause and to make a deliberate decision to use a
Different conflicts call for different approaches. Using the right approach helps diffuse the situation or resolve the issue completely, thus taking the conflict out of the realm of a stressor in your life. Sometimes avoiding conflict is an unhealthy choice, in the long run, and sometimes it is the exact right thing to do.
Whatever your normal 'go-to' style may be, it's time to look at it more closely to make sure that it is in service of your psychological and physical well-being, not adding to chronic stress.
6 Dreams are messages from our subconscious. Have you had any of the following dreams in the past 6 months? (Check as many boxes as are relevant)
Yes - Teeth falling out/missing
Yes - Crying
Yes - Being embarrassed
Yes - Being chased
Yes - Hating
No - I don't have dreams
Yes - Being fearful
Yes - Falling
No - I don't remember my dreams
Yes - Being angry
Not remembering dreams: the jury is out on this question. Generally the view is that if the brain is very active we are more likely to dream, and that if we are woken mid-dream or shortly after having dreamed we are more likely to remember the dream. All of the other categories of dreams listed above are documented as being symptomatic of unresolved stress or conflict.
7 As you think about your life right now, overall, how satisfied are you with your sense of peace and fulfillment?
It's so far away I can't imagine ever getting there
I feel very close to peace and fulfillment and can't wait to keep working on it
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