3 Ways to Disengage from Conflict

From sports teams, to political parties, to gay marriage, to abortion, conflict and differing opinions are as abundant in our own communities as in the whole of the world. So, how does one disengage from the cortisol-fest of a disagreement? Here are a few simple steps to employ when encountering conflict or disagreement.



1.) Let go of the need to have the last word.

This is actually an act of preservation. Keeping quiet does not prove you’re right any less than having the last word. It does not “strengthen your case.” It, in fact, only leaves you bubbling with more negativity. Conflict is contagious; the human instinct of “fight or flight” kicks in, and oftentimes things are said in heated anger that are not really necessary. By refusing the ego’s desire to “have the last word,” we are actually deflecting negativity and honoring ourselves. We are also, in turn, training the ego to control less of our instinctual reactions.



2.) Respect an opinion that is not your own. By allowing another person to have an opinion separate from, or even opposite of, yours is liberating. It oftentimes doesn’t feel that way, in the moment, and oftentimes someone else’s viewpoint infuriates or awakens some other passionate emotion in you. This propels a desperate need to “argue one’s case.” No matter how reasonable your approach and delivery of a particular point of view, there will still be millions of people who see the world differently.  There’s simply no changing that. So by practicing non-attachment, and respecting that opinions exist as separate entities from your own, you naturally disengage from conflict. You naturally realize it is not your role to argue, but rather to strengthen your own opinions and viewpoints and live your truth.


3.) Soften your face. It sounds so simple, so useless a tactic, but I promise it will make you feel better. It will quell negativity more than you realize. By refusing the body language, facial expressions and ocular behaviors (I dub eye-rolling, squinting of condescending nature, and prolonged shut-eye insinuating frustration in a realm of their own! They’re very powerful at conveying as much, if not more, as words could). By keeping a passive face (which does not signal “defeat” or resignation), you are not only distracted by the effort it takes to maintain this expression, but you are also practicing yet another act of self-preservation. This mindful act urges us to choose our words more carefully and not lay all of our cards on the table (which, in the end, only leaves us feeling more vulnerable, angry and frustrated). Softening the face and making a sincere effort to use less words, but more heartfelt words, is invaluable in disengaging from conflict.


Conflict will occur out in the world regardless of how prepared we are for it. But isn’t it a nicer idea to walk away from a disagreement feeling calm, confident and composed, rather than shaky, angry and obsessing over all that was said? We are human, and we get angry, it just happens. But if we can do our best to employ tactics such as these, we offer ourselves the solace of remaining unattached from negativity, and that is one of the greatest gifts we can offer ourselves.


Namaste 🙂




3 thoughts on “3 Ways to Disengage from Conflict

  1. Oh my… this post came to the right time (funny how isn’t that often the case? you got to hear what you needed to hear at the moment when you heard it ;). Yesterday I was fringing the point #2. This post also reaffirms some of the conditions i’ve had associated with anxiety over the last few years. This year I’ve finally sought therapy and having positive progress. And I just realize I’m through an “anxiety withdrawal.” It sounds ironic but this is how I knew that indeed I suffered from anxiety before. Thank you for writing this.

    Btw- I’m trying to read the text in the Anatomy of Anxiety above. I’m having some hard time reading the small texts on the image. I googled and found the same image of the same size you posted. Do you happen to have a bigger version of the image or know what’s the source name of this image? I’d like to read further into this. 🙂

    Have a great time with your yoga teaching training this weekend! ❤

    • Divine intervention, beauty, the same thing happens to me on a REGULAR basis (especially on MindBodyGreen…it’s like they can check the channel of my brain and then post articles accordingly! HA!).
      #2 is HARD. It’s why I chose to write this piece, to be honest. Because it’s all HARD. I’m by no means “preaching” with this piece, I’m very much saying, “Let us ALL try to do this TOGETHER.” 🙂
      I struggle with anxiety too. Particularly of the sort when I disagree (especially with my mom – we are so close that disagreeing just about frustrates me out of my skin, though she is happy to have her own opinion and for me to do things my own way; so why can’t I agree to disagree?!).
      I think therapy is INVALUABLE. I truly believe that if insurance covered yoga, therapy, massage and mediation/pranayama, we’d need far less medication as a society and would have far fewer mental breakdowns. Just a theory.
      I’ll see if I can get my hands on a larger image of the Anatomy of Anxiety.
      Be well, beauty, Namaste.

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