It is a fundamental fact of human existence: communicating with others while respecting differing views is a necessary life skill.

By our basic nature, most people have difficulty handling emotionally charged conversations. Our capacity to manage emotions, resolve conflict, and create meaningful alignment with others is not innate -- it must be learned. Few people have been trained to focus on emotional management skills, however, a lack of these coping abilities can lead to damaged relationships and career setbacks.

All authentic, healthy relationships are anchored by emotional self-regulation. When you struggle to handle intense emotions, the impact is anger management issues, getting stuck in sadness or displaying emotions that are inappropriate or hurtful.

By adopting practices and habits that increase your emotional health and wellbeing, you can build a reserve of strength that can be called upon when you need it most. In other words, in order to deal with life's curve balls, you need emotional resilience. Resilience can be your inherent, protective mechanism that impacts your response to stressful situations. Each person's resilience capacity differs according to his or her life experience, learned coping mechanisms, and genetic programming.

Thankfully, it is possible to expand your resilience reserves through prolonged, focused effort. If you want to improve your ability to handle high-stakes interactions with more grace and control, building emotional resilience is the answer.

Here are some specific ways to cultivate emotional composure when you find yourself in challenging situations:

1. Identify your stress-response.

First and foremost, you need to be aware of how you handle conflict in the moment, as well as how you manage the emotions of others. Most of our thoughts and actions are largely unconscious and based on emotion, so being more self-aware is critical. Do you go into fight or flight mode?  Or, do you try to take the high road when challenged? It is essential to review your strengths and areas of development so that you can create a solid plan for improvement. Start by reassessing past experiences during high stake conversations, and ask yourself, "what would I do differently?"

2. Get out of your head.

Practicing mindful meditation builds emotional resiliency, and hones your ability to remain more observant and calm during heated situations. It is a helpful practice that also enhances self-awareness.

3. Make healthy habits a priority -- and stick with them.

Exercise, proper nutrition, and banking adequate amounts of sleep are the pillars that support emotional resilience. It is common knowledge that if you are sleep-deprived, hungry, or perhaps you drank too much the night before, your ability to handle tough discussions diminishes. If you feel stressed or rundown, your level of patience and rationality plummets. Emotionally resilient people know the value of looking after the body, mind and soul.

4. Find meaning in what you do.

If you feel connected to your work, and to those in your personal life, you will resonate with a higher intention. Giving back -- in whatever way you can -- to those less fortunate, also fuels a good frame of mind, propelling you through stressful conversations or negotiations.

5. Empathy is all.

This one is simple: If you adopt a more empathetic approach to others, you will be more conscious of your reactions and will likely react more calmly in the eye of the storm.

6. You are in the driver's seat.

The human brain is designed to be reactive by nature. When you realize that everything you say and do has impact on others -- you have the opportunity to control the outcome. You have choices. Do your best to choose wisely.

Published on: Nov 7, 2017