Many of us spend their lives rushing from one task to the next. We are focusing more on the future than on the present moment, this is why sometimes we feel like distracted from the world around us or like we are only half-living our lives. We feel stressed and chase after events and to-do lists. This stress keeps us busy and tears us apart from the sweet taste of life.
The new edition of the course “Stress and Conflict Management: the way to resilience and satisfaction” took place in Bologna from 17/04/2023 to 21/04/2023. In this course we welcomed a special group from the LändlicheErwachsenenbildung in Niedersachsen e.V in Germany: Nils, Maike, Heike, Claudia, Reinhild, Iris, Axel, Faten, Nadja, Ralf, Numan, Heike, Brigitte, Sven und Johannes.
During the first two days our main topic was stress. What is stress? How does it appear and how does it affect us? We discussed the definition of stress itself and reflected on our daily life regarding to personal stressors. After becoming aware of the stressful situations we discussed the symptoms of these stressors from a behavioral, physical, emotional and cognitive perspective. After recognizing the bad effects of stress we brainstormed for coping mechanism and personal resources to deal in an appropriate way with stressors. We found many exercises like meditation, workouts, breathing exercises, outdoor activities or social support.
Later we focused on time management and, as we determined, we all have to deal with “human elements” which are unpredictable, time-consuming but important to handle in our society and profession. When it came to individual time management the participants recognized their time stealers and gathered solutions to deal with them. The group learnt about the methods to structure their task, to prioritize or to delegate to gain more time for other responsibilities.
Another topic of the course was the empathy. Empathy is an undeniably important skill which helps solving conflicts and improves the communication between parties. The group discovered the differences between being empathic and sympathetic as well as recognizing and avoiding empathy busters. Getting conscious of the way we communicate, enables to solve conflicts effectively or even prevents them before they escalate. In conflict management it is also essential to know about different communication styles. The participants discovered the most common styles and how people act in conflict situations. Each style can be useful if it is used in an appropriate way to find a solution.
On the last day of the course we practiced mindfulness based on the mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR). Mindfulness can help cope with stressors and get back to the present moment. It improves the ability to focus more carefully on our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations without judgment. Ten minutes per day practicing mindfulness are already effective to reduce stress and increase wellbeing. At the end of the course we reflected on values. Values are a cue to our real needs and targets. Being in line with them creates a greater wellbeing and satisfaction while being not aligned to them leads to alienation, decreased wellbeing and stress.
Since the participants came from different professional backgrounds the course offered new perspectives and strategies to cope with stress and facilitated new perspectives of dealing with stress in the professional and private life. More importantly this course shows the participants that they are in capacity to deal with their stressors, time and conflicts and that sharing experiences and strategies in a group might come to many positive outcomes as well as making new friends and acquaintances.
Discover more about this course here.
Welcome to the ELA Blog. Here you will find articles and photos of our courses and have a look at the topics addressed during the week in Bologna, Palermo and Tenerife. You will also have the chance to take a peek at our projects and check out what we have been up to.