CONFLICT COACH: Does your environment affect your stress levels?

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Faith Wood knows how to resolve conflict. Her years in front-line law enforcement taught her how to effectively de-escalate any situation to a successful conclusion. Faith will use her knowledge of conflict management to guide you through the often stressful experiences you may encounter in your personal or professional life.

Faith WoodDear Conflict Coach: My motivation and productivity have been sluggish this year. First, I thought it was related to all the stress of the past few years, but recently one of my friends suggested that a cluttered office space/home is more likely the culprit. I start to clean up these spaces but then feel so overwhelmed. Is my space really the reason for my lack of enthusiasm?

Answer: You spend a lot of time at your workplace and home. Therefore, if those environments are set up to cause you conflict, this can add to your stress levels.

For instance, if you live or work in a cluttered area, you will spend a good portion of your time looking for things, which takes you away from spending more time with family at home or getting more work done at the office. Having good organization skills is a great first step to reducing some of the stress in your life.

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Some companies are paid big money to design the most efficient office environments, a concept that can also be taken into the home as well. When the places you frequent give you a sense of balance, you will be more productive and more at peace, which can only lead to lower stress levels as a whole. Ergo, less conflict with yourself and others.

Some people believe these measures are nonsense, and the companies that espouse their use are doing it to make money. While there are tricksters in any industry, talk to others who have created a more efficient workspace and ask them if they noticed any difference in their environments.

Like any industry, design has its fair share of fads. Consider the Feng Shui movement that was so popular a few years ago. It seems to have completely disappeared, adding fuel to the detractors.

Another factor is an individual’s tolerance for stress. Some people can handle it well, while others can only handle minor amounts. For those who can take a large amount of stress, the environment surrounding them isn’t going to make much of a difference. While a well-designed environment may help them to some degree, they can work or live in just about any surroundings.

Those who have trouble with stress may be served well with an environment redesign. If your outlook and productivity improve, it can be well worth any expense for the design.

Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications. 

For interview requests, click here.

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