Tag Archives: U.P. health and wellness magazine

Creative Inspiration: Winter Moon Madness, Roslyn Elena McGrath

winter moon madness illustration

Winter moon madness sparkles sharply
over crusty layers of icy skyfall.
It ripples through frigid rivers
and captures cold shadows,
increasing their inky contrast
to the shining white mystery
that blurs shapes
and freezes forms.

Can color continue in this world?
Must it all be shades of dark
and light, ad nauseam, forever?

When the moon conquers our souls,
will we remain frozen,
caught up in our thoughts and counter-currents,
statues under indigo skies?
Or will we reach out,
grab another’s hand,
and dance wildly to the sound
of our own howling laughter,
kissing shadows and sparkles
’til we keel over drunk
with intoxicating, frosted breath?

I happen to have a star shine in my hand
that wears me as its amulet,
and I am proud to share its wealth
with all the wide, white world.

Roslyn Elena McGrath is a visionary artist, author, holistic practitioner, teacher, and publisher. You can find out more about her private sessions, upcoming workshops, and inspirational books and products at http://www.EmpoweringLightworks.com.

Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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Bodies in Motion: Snow Biking My Way, Michelle Gill

trail biking, Gills

When I think about what inspires me the most to mountain bike, road bike, or snow bike, it’s just being outdoors. I love the fresh air on my face and body, the smell of the leaves, fresh earth, or fresh cut grass in the air, the beautiful shades of greens and blues seen in the trees and lakes, the sound of laughter among friends—I love being outdoors in almost all weather conditions. Therefore, winter opens up a fabulous new opportunity for biking called snow biking or fat biking.

My husband and I own twenty acres just outside of Marquette where we snow bike as much as possible all winter. Since we don’t own a snowmobile or groomer, we manually groom the trails ourselves by snowshoeing them. This can be a lot of work on our eleven different loops, but it is also great exercise! It’s not as simple as just going for a casual snowshoe. When grooming, you have to go over sections multiple times, and bank corners where needed. This doesn’t produce the same quality of bike trail as professionally groomed trails. In fact, it’s harder to snow bike on trails that are manually groomed, and every time it snows significantly you have to re-groom. However, it’s worth it to be able to step outside your home and ride.

Between snowshoeing to groom trails and the actual riding, winter snow biking on our trails is a major workout. Our trails are on a gradual hill so no matter which way you go, you will be climbing at some point. We usually start at a half-hour ride and work our way up to an hour. At times, snow biking can be fast in the straighter sections, but rides on most of them are slower and more challenging, with trails curving all through our glorious woods. During the work week, going for a ride right after getting home works best for us. This usually requires the use of headlamps or flash lights mounted to the bikes. Night riding is a little more challenging, but so enjoyable under the clear, star-filled sky! Winter snow biking on our trails also helps us master riding at slow speeds, cornering, and balancing. It’s made me a better biker for summer trail riding.

To prepare for winter snow biking, you should have bar mitts if your hands normally get cold in the winter. With bar mitts on your bike, you only need to wear a light pair of gloves. On our trails, I don’t recommend clipping into your bike pedals. We wear boots to keep our feet warm and dry. As far as clothing, we wear the same garments we would wear for cross country skiing or running in cold temperatures-layers, breathable garments, wind protection, helmet, goggles if it’s really cold… the usual winter gear required for snow biking.

If you want to try snow biking, area bike shops offer rentals. I recommend you try renting first if you’re not sure about it. The many trails in and around the city of Marquette are beautifully scenic and perfectly groomed. In addition to riding recreationally, snow bike races exist throughout winter and across the Upper Peninsula. Check online or at any bike shop for more information about snow biking or racing. Snow biking is just another wonderful sport to enjoy in our beautiful north woods. Have fun!

ice biking, Gills

Financial adviser and former human resources director at Marquette Area Public Schools Michelle Gill grew up in the western U.P. and has called Marquette home since 1994. She and her husband David enjoy living an active lifestyle, playing outdoors as much as possible.

Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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Senior Viewpoint: Your Personal Legacy is Happening Now, Heather Mlsna

hand-1549399_1280A personal legacy isn’t something static that appears or is bequeathed when we die. We are continually creating it. Our everyday actions, emotions, and behaviors combine into a series of good and bad experiences that result in our individual life history.

When considering the legacy we are leaving behind, it’s helpful to take an honest look at our lives—from our earliest memories to present-day experiences. Chances are, as you take time to reflect, you will recall events that made you feel all sorts of emotions.

Often, these feelings move us to want to write about our lives, perhaps even more so as we move into our later years. We may feel a need to “set the record straight” by clarifying words and actions from our past. This sort of project can be comprehensive or narrow in scope, and can take the shape of a letter, memoir, journal entry, conversation, poem, etc. Legacy writing can take many forms, but the first step always begins with personal reflection.

How do we tell our story? One way is to create a personal legacy document. The exercise that follows is an example of how to write about a life event in need of remediation. However, the process can be used to describe any of your experiences.

A personal legacy document is defined as any narrative that describes or explains a period of time in someone’s life.

If you are unsure where to start, reflect on your individual history, and make two columns on a piece of paper. It’s sometimes helpful to look at old photo albums to aid your reflective journey. Start with your childhood, and systematically move through your history to the present. In one column, list the deeds of which you’re proud. In the other section, record anything you’ve done that you regret.

Take a look at your list and identify which negative memory causes you the most pain. Circle it. This is your starting point. Here is where you identify your audience, or the wronged party. Write the name of the person, place, or thing involved in this recollection next to the circled memory. This is who you will be addressing in your document.

Next, on a new page, record everything you can remember about this unsettling life event. Make three columns labeled: before, during, and after. Write down the concrete and abstract details of what happened in the beginning, middle, and end of the experience. Remember to include feelings, intentions, your temperament that day, and personal circumstances at that point in your life. Try to identify all the existing verbal and nonverbal communication going on at that moment. You are not creating a document here; you are brainstorming, so don’t worry about creating sentences. Get your ideas on paper in any manner that is functional to you.

These pieces are the elements you’ll use to construct the story of what happened, a graphic organizer or outline to guide your writing process. If you don’t have enough information in any of the three columns, go back to brainstorming and look harder at the situation. Add some sensory details to your lists so you can show – and not just tell – your reader how you feel. For example, “Right before I saw you, my brother called to say we needed to paint our parents’ house. My arthritis was so painful that day that the thought of doing that plunged me right into a funky mood.”

Now you are ready to write. It’s important to remember writing is a process. What you put down on paper initially will not be perfect, and you shouldn’t strive to make it so. Write, and do it fearlessly, so you can find your inner truth and voice, and then convey this to others.

What you have created thus far lays the foundation for plotting your story. All stories have a beginning, middle, and end. These are equivalent to the before, during, and after columns you’ve just created.

The “before” represents the exposition of your story—the explanation for what leads to the negative interaction you are trying to remediate by writing. But before you get to the part where the trouble explodes, you need to show how the exchange built up. If you’ve brainstormed adequately, these essential pieces will be in the “before” and “during” sections of your outline or graphic organizer.

Although it takes time to write these details, they are a key part of the process, helping you to illustrate what brought you to the moment of harm (the climax). This allows for the expression of your humanity – right or wrong – and to tell your side of the story, giving the reader an opportunity to connect with your state of being, and perhaps find insight into your thoughts and actions.

The person or people being addressed won’t need help recognizing the climax and what came afterwards for them. However, you will need to tell them how it has affected you. This is the “after” of your story, illustrating the falling action, or what came after the life event.

Finally, we arrive at the point of resolution, where you get to apologize and attempt to make restitution for your actions or words. It’s the most important part because without a thorough and honorable admission of your misdeed, you cannot ask for a reprieve. You have to be crystal clear about what you are owning, and what you are asking forgiveness for. Better still, describe any life lessons you learned and carry with you.

Your first draft is now complete. As you go back to revise and edit it, you can decide on your vehicle of delivery. Will you make this document into a letter? Will you deliver the information personally through conversation? Will you compose a short story and offer it to the transgressed? Will you keep it as a diary entry for yourself? (Sometimes the latter choice is the only one available if our audience is deceased.)

Read your finished first draft out loud to yourself. Note information or descriptions to add, and scratch out anything that doesn’t make sense. Rewrite to include omissions and additions, and make sure there is unity in your document so every sentence advances your story. Do this over and over until you are satisfied. If you are feeling brave, have a friend or relative read your story and offer a critique.

You can repeat this process any number of times. These same steps can also be used to describe wholesome, nourishing pieces of your history, or the history of a relative or friend. Doing this can support the flow of your life into the future, knowing you have done your very best to be a good person.

Creating a legacy document can open doors of communication you thought were closed. It can illustrate a life that was previously unknown, stand as a memorial to a deceased person, aid in remembering favorite trips or adventures, help heal relationships, figure out our place here on earth, or be thematic and pull memories from various corners of your mind. Chances are, as you move through the process of writing there will be an element of self-discovery. Your life – your living legacy – may be enhanced with this unveiling.

Heather Mlsna is a professional writer. Her business, Last Letters/No Regrets, seeks to promote healing and remembrance through writing. It serves individuals seeking to express themselves on paper who need help getting started. Heather can be reached at lastlettersmqt@gmail.com. (https://lastlettersnoregrets.com

Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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Positive Parenting: Pet Care for Kids, Jenny Magli

cat-1045180_640

Caring for family pets is a big responsibility! Pets need patience, love and attention, food and water, grooming, exercise, playtime, and medical care throughout their lives. Sounds a lot like what we all require, especially kids! So with that, it is important to remember that as kids are learning responsibilities in life, they also must learn that pets are living creatures that deserve to be treated kindly and with compassion, and that they are a lifetime commitment. This can be very time consuming, but well worth the effort. The level of responsibility you teach a child certainly depends on their age. How much responsibility do you think he or she can handle? What would be age-appropriate and considered safe for him or her to do? Overall, as a parent, you are responsible for supervision in pet caretaking by making sure the pet is well cared for.

Here are some points for promoting positive pet care:

  • If there is already a pet in the home, kids will have an idea of what it takes to care for one, but still may need oversight in overall pet care. If a pet is not yet in the home, it can be helpful to start with a “pretend animal” and teach kids the basics of care that way first.
  • Help kids understand that sometimes pets do not want attention, and give examples of what that looks like so they can be respectful of that.
  • Some pets like hugs and some don’t, so it’s important for kids to understand acceptable ways to show affection.
  • Teaching a gentle, calm approach with pets is important.
  • Sometimes it’s important to leave pets alone. This is especially true when they are not feeling well, or they’ve had an eventful day.
  • Teach kids how to interact appropriately with new animals. This includes animals they meet when you’re out around town. When you come across people walking their pets, always ask the owner before approaching an animal. Remind children they must always be respectful, gentle, and cautious when meeting new animals.
  • Make it easy for kids to complete their tasks. For instance, you can draw out instructions and tape to a food container so they know how much to feed the pet.
  • Children can easily become overwhelmed when too much is required of them, so finding a balance that keeps them enthused and participating without feeling overwhelmed is key.
  • Reward smaller kids with a daily “star” for their efforts in helping with a pet-related chore. Children need praise and reward for completing tasks. Positive reinforcement promotes positive results.
  • Offer an allowance of sorts for helping with pets. This could be in the form of a “point system” where a certain number of points are given for specific chores that can be cashed in later for various things.
  • A most valuable tool in teaching kids to be responsible pet caretakers is to set an example by fulfilling this role well ourselves!

Note: There are many books available on teaching kids how to interact with animals.

*Readers are reminded it is entirely of their own accord, right, and responsibility to make informed and educated decisions on their pet’s health care. Jenny Magli disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Jenny is a Certified Natural Health Consultant for pets and their people, and an Animal Iridology, Healing Touch for Animals (Level 2) and NES Bioenergetics practitioner. She is available for consultations and presentations. She can be reached at (906) 235-3524 or 1healthlink@gmail.com.

Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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Community Improvement: Health & Happiness’s Annual Donation Recipient—Superior Child Advocacy Center

Imagine you are a child being sexually abused by someone you thought loved you. How scary that would be to tell someone. Now imagine the perpetrator told you that if you told someone, he or she would kill you, or kill someone you love.  Imagine the tormented life you would have as that child.

Imagine how much courage it takes for you to report this. Now imagine having to summon that courage repeatedly. Typically, a child must share his or her story and respond to questions several more times after the initial disclosure – once each to the police, Child Protective Services, a medical professional, and a prosecutor, and in several different, coldly official types of locations.

Superior Child Advocacy Center (SCAC) will prevent that by being a one-stop, more welcoming hub for child sexual and physical abuse investigation. As volunteer Hannah Syrjala explains, “It’s not a scary police station, not an interrogation room or intimidating courtroom. The child will be able to come into a soft space and talk to just one interviewer – there are no cops there, no lawyers. Everyone on the team–Child Protective Services, a counselor, medical professional, and law officer-observes the interview from another room, so the child only has to tell his or her story once rather than living it over and over again.”

“Keeping the process to one forensic interview limits further trauma to the child, strengthens the case as a whole, and streamlines how the child gets the different services he or she may need,” adds volunteer and Marquette County Assistant Prosecutor Jill Simms. “The interviewer is specially trained to ask the right kind of questions to get the information needed for an arrest and conviction, and to help the child move forward. A multi-disciplinary team will continue working on each case, assigning services for the child as necessary.”

Studies have shown that without proper intervention, children who are abused are likely to become abusers themselves, or continue to be victims, with poor life skills and increased likelihood of experiencing mental illness and/or drug addiction. “SCAC’s goal is to nip that in the bud to better their lives and prevent future turmoil,” say Simms.

The initiative to create SCAC was begun a couple of years ago by Marquette County Prosecutor Matt Wiese. Wiese explains, “MI law requires that we have a social worker, law enforcement, and medical personnel all address child physical and sexual abuse cases. We’ve learned having a child advocacy center is the most effective way to implement these requirements. It’s been proven to be the best approach in many communities, increasing accountability for perpetrators of child abuse, and decreasing the amount of times children have to appear in court.”

Currently, Delta is the only U.P. county with a child advocacy center. And with an increase in such cases, handling them as sensitively and effectively as possible becomes even more crucial. Prosecutor Wiese says, “We have already been seeing approximately thirty felony cases against children a year, and that’s just counting those under thirteen. The forensic interview room we’ve been using is woefully inadequate – it’s not soft or welcoming. It’s in the courthouse building, next to a stairwell. Children are often distracted by the sounds of people walking by, and by any movement or sounds from the other side of the one-way mirror. Plus we have no ability to record the interview. The center will create a one-stop place with trained professionals in a friendly environment. Digital and audio recordings of the interview will be made. Everything disclosed is captured evidence showing the interview was done appropriately, without leading questions. There will a physical examination room with a trained medical professional who knows how to look for evidence of both sexual and physical assault injuries.

Eventually the center’s services will include education and prevention programs, and may be extended to adjacent counties. However, the biggest need right now is financial. A rent-free initial location has been secured thanks to Trace Holistic Center, which will begin providing forensic nursing for sexual crimes against both children and adults in 2019.

At least $12,000 of the $50,000 goal for Superior Child Advocacy Center’s set-up and first year of operation needs has been raised so far. Grant applications are in process and fundraisers have been organized to pay for expenses such as recording equipment and cameras.

This holiday season, a “Wish List Christmas Tree” will be up at the Marquette County Courthouse. Community members will be able to choose an ornament specifying a needed supply to donate, such as paper, ink, staplers, and so on. SCAC’s future needs include volunteers, installation of recording equipment, furniture, paint, and electronic donations.

Another enjoyable and also healthy way to donate is by participating in the “Lead the Way 5K” scheduled for April 13, 2019.

A healthy, caring community must support the health of our children, our future adults. As Acting Board President of SCAC Dianne Heitman implores, “Please help us to help physically and sexually abused children take back their lives.”

To stay updated and learn more about SCAC, and how you can donate or volunteer, you can visit http://www.superiorcac.org or the Superior Child Advocacy Center Facebook page.

Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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What Is… Your Powerful Question? John Olesnavage

powerful question cover

Like many others, I have always been fascinated by and drawn to those who achieve what the rest of us just dream about. And, from an early age, I suspected there must be a common denominator, a secret sauce. They could not all be geniuses, right?”

I first met Dr. Clark Moustakas in 1994 when I enrolled in graduate studies. By then he had published over twenty books, and co-founded a graduate school of psychology which continues to thrive today as the Michigan School of Psychology in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

During our first one-on-one supervision meeting, I respectfully asked Clark how he did it all. With a beguiling smile that seemed to say “I know, and you can too,” he stated that he simply followed a single question “each-and-every day.” Momentarily stunned by his humility and directness, I asked him what his question was and he replied, “What is loneliness?” I already knew that his 1961 book, Loneliness (most recent version: Hauraki Publishing, 2016) was the title of his most revered and best-selling book. But now I understood that his book was not just the result of his writer’s craft; it was a window to his essence and meaning. Pursuing the question of loneliness enabled him to move beyond his perceived capabilities, and made impossible things possible.

In that moment, I also knew he was handing me the secret sauce and the recipe for living a self-actualized life. What he did not hand over was a process for finding a life-transforming question, but my search was on. Some months later, my question arrived quite unexpectedly, and my deer-in-the-headlights reaction convinced me it was “mine.” That same question continues to drive me today. It is the intuitive lens I use to examine life, and a bridge to a purposeful life.

My question,“What is boundary?”, was embedded in every nook and cranny of my life story, waiting patiently to be discovered. Pursuing an answer led me to numerous insights and further discoveries. My own research kept pointing to the fact that boundary was co-created, meaning it involves at least two people and a certain mutuality. This goes counter to the commonly accepted notion that boundary is a wall we build on our own. We can (and sometimes do) try to build these kinds of walls, especially when we are fearful, but they can become obstacles to real growth. My research also revealed that a healthy boundary is both flexible and whole. A boundary that has lost its flexibility through trauma, grief, or addiction produces feelings of being stuck. Holes in our boundary fabric produced by trauma, loss, etc., affect our ability to form healthy connections with others. In my work with clients, I found that various forms of play can restore flexibility, and integrating mind, body, and spirit creates the balance needed to repair boundary tears.

Finding a Powerful Question is not therapy, although it can lead to healing and truth. As in the case of Dr. Moustakas, it is stepping onto the same playing field as Albert Einstein and others who have achieved historic breakthroughs. In his biography of Einstein, Walter Isaacson noted that at age sixteen, Einstein had a single question that inspired him throughout all of his discoveries-“What would it be like to ride at the speed of light next to a beam of light?” (Isaacson, 114) Dig a little into the lives of Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy, as I have, and you will find the Powerful Questions that drove each of them.

In 2011, I had the opportunity to help a group of fifteen entrepreneurs discover their Powerful Questions. That effort produced some amazing results, and created programs that continue to have a positive impact in Marquette, Michigan. One such effort was Start the Cycle, a bicycling program that offers area youth a chance to train for and compete in a strenuous mountain bike race. That program began when a local entrepreneur, Curt Hewitt, and I asked what impact mountain biking might have on at-risk youth. Another entrepreneur in the group, Laura MacDonald, saw this as a perfect fit for her Powerful Question, “What is legacy?” Under her leadership, Start the Cycle has expanded, serving hundreds of area youth since 2011. I detail Laura’s story and similar achievements in my just-released book, Ask* your Powerful Question. In 2017, I had the opportunity to introduce Powerful Questions to graduate students at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. It was valued enough that it is now a course in the school’s Master’s level curriculum for lay students.

People ask me “Is this a spiritual approach? An entrepreneurial one? Or some sort of therapy?” If by therapy you mean finding out what is authentic and passionate in yourself, the answer is a resounding yes. If you are a seeker of any sort, be it spiritual or entrepreneurial, a Powerful Question will reveal what you truly desire most. Traveling this path is stepping up to the specialness of you. I cannot say it any better than Plato did in 399 B.C., “An unexamined life is one not worth living.” Find your Powerful Question, and let it lead you to the purposeful, passionate life you were born to live.

John Olesnavage, a resident of Big Bay, Michigan, is a psychologist, educator, and author who follows his own Powerful Question “each-and-every-day.” In addition to Ask* your Powerful Question, John also wrote Our Boundary, a book describing his ground-breaking, boundary-based approach to counseling.

Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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Defusing Explosions at Home & Work, Megan Keiser

Anyone working in the customer service industry can tell you one of the hardest parts is dealing with the irate customer, that customer who has seemingly saved up every ounce of disgust, annoyance, frustration, and disdain so it can be sent flying at the next unsuspecting customer service representative to answer with “Thank you for calling. How may I help you today?”

In the contact center world, defusing an upset caller is especially challenging. Great care is taken by the representative to respond effectively and appropriately to an irate customer. Not surprisingly, the same tools used to defuse angry customers can also be applied to our everyday lives in our interpersonal relationships, whether with a spouse, relative, friend, coworker, or child. Skills such as empathy, active listening, non-emotionally driven responses, and blame avoidance have a big impact in determining whether an interaction blows up in a fiery explosion, or cools off and gets snuffed out.

The first step of defusing is always to acknowledge what the upset party has stated and offer empathy. Empathy is a powerful tool. It’s the ability to place yourself in another person’s shoes to truly feel his or her frustrations as your own. Empathy is internalizing the feelings of the upset party and taking a moment to find commonalities you can share on his or her perspective of the situation. For example, the holidays are a time of joy and merriment, but can also be a time of high expectations and increased stress. Let’s say your sibling has taken on the role of holiday host for the first time and things are off to a rocky start (the turkey isn’t cooking properly, the kids are fighting mercilessly, and tensions are already mounting between Aunt Judith and Uncle Bud) and your sibling lashes out at you for not taking on the role yourself. Your first reaction might be to respond with, “You should calm down!” But remember to put yourself in your sibling’s shoes. Ask yourself, “How would I feel if I were responsible for hosting a lovely, harmonious holiday event and everything felt like it was falling apart?” A more appropriate response utilizing the tools of acknowledgment and empathy would be to respond with, “I can see you have a lot on your plate. What can I do to help?” Situation defused.

Second, active listening and asking follow-up questions are other critical elements related to our ability to demonstrate empathy appropriately. When we practice the art of active listening and asking follow-up questions, we show the other person we truly care about what he or she has to say and allow ourselves the opportunity to truly understand the issue. One of the biggest reasons people tend to get upset or stay upset is that they aren’t feeling heard. From their perspective, they are shouting and repeating the issue over and over again, but the person they are speaking with just isn’t acknowledging their concerns. This leads to great frustration. Practicing active listening allows you to truly hear what the root problem is, and asking questions allows you to further clarify and understand details that weren’t originally mentioned. In his book The 4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication in Love, Life, Work – Anywhere! author Bento Leal suggests that we “listen through the words to the essence of the message.” We can tune in to the essence of the message by noting not only the spoken words but also the look of frustration, anger, or worry written on another’s face, in their body language, or in their tone of voice. Reading between the lines like this may also help you identify the underlying cause of the frustration, even when it may not be apparent to the upset party themselves. Situation defused.

Third, ensure your own emotions aren’t impacting the words you choose to speak when responding to an upset individual. When being unfairly attacked or blamed for things, it is common to want to react to those comments by counter-attacking and immediately firing back some hurtful or accusatory statements. In his book If It Wasn’t for the Customers I’d Really Like This Job, author Robert Bacal urges us not to get trapped in the “Crisis Cycle,” the unending loop of abuse and attack. To break this cycle, don’t take the bait. Before responding, take a deep breath or two to ensure your logical brain has time to weigh in prior to your emotions driving your responses. Other tips include using the upset person’s name, responding calmly but firmly, and refocusing on the actual issue. Actively listening, acknowledging, and repeating back what the upset party has stated gives your logical brain time to process. When we couple active listening with empathetic responses, we avoid responding with hurtful statements and stop the crisis cycle. Situation defused.

A last tip is to avoid getting looped into the crisis cycle by avoiding blaming statements or “you” statements anytime you are defusing. Using words such as “you” or “your” are likely to escalate a conversation rather than cool it down. For example, responding to a complaint with “You are the only one complaining about this” won’t defuse a situation. A more helpful statement would be, “I haven’t heard this complaint before; I would like to understand more about it.” “I” statements are generally much more effective when working through a heated issue. Situation defused.

These are just a few simple tips from the contact center world to defuse those tense situations. Putting these tips into practice will help enhance your interpersonal relationships, and ultimately lead to more respectful, fulfilling relationships. Remember to channel your inner customer service representative when you need to defuse.

Megan Keiser is the Human Resources Manager for Superior Contact, a business offering outsourced contact center services. She is a member of Superiorland Toastmasters, focused on communication and leadership skills, and is certified to administer and interpret the EQi-2.0 and 360 emotional intelligence assessments.

Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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