How to Prepare Your Body and Mind to Achieve More Success in Mediation

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How to Prepare Your Body and Mind to Achieve More Success in Mediation

© 2024 by Ekaterina Ricci, MDR

This article is written to help anyone involved in mediation, both participants and mediators, to achieve more success in conflict resolution by focusing on wellness before the mediation process. Mediation is a good alternative to litigation for many cases, but it can be very stressful. It involves making difficult decisions, and, at times, several important, highly emotional issues are raised, prompting disagreements. Going back and forth between proposals often makes participants tired, which may result in surrendering to unfavorable conflict resolution options just to end the stress from the mediation process.

Stress affects our blood oxygen level, resulting in low cognitive functioning and irrational decision-making. Long-term stress leads to depression and apathy, making us stuck in a long decision-making process, and with time, decisions are even more challenging to make, leading to impulsivity with the time pressure during mediation or paralysis.

Research shows that cognitive abilities that help us to make effective and rational decisions can be influenced by the food we eat, exercise, and water intake. Thus your abilities as a mediator performing at your highest level, or your abilities as a participant making proposals and decisions can be influenced positively or negatively with food, exercise, proper hydration, and choices we make that fill or drain our social battery.

Success can be difficult to achieve without feeling at your very best. Mindful food intake and body movement can help build resilience and create the right mindset to withstand challenges and achieve success in mediation.

The Impact of Diet on Interpersonal Stress

What we eat has a direct impact on how your body feels and, ultimately, the decisions you make. The body extracts chemical energy stored in the bonds of molecules of the food we eat. This chemical energy is then transformed into energy we use to do our biological and physical work or stored in the form of potential energy for future use. Fried or deep-fried food contains toxins like aldehydes that may contribute to neurodegenerative disease and epoxy-fatty acids that may, as research shows, cause health hazards.

An unhealthy diet leads to fast exhaustion, poor decision making, in some cases fatigue, and faster energy drain, unlike healthy food.

Food from healthy meals contains micronutrients such as vitamin B, Iron, microelements, and polyphenols, which are contained in many fresh foods (apples, almonds, leafy greens) and are crucial for cognitive health. When you eat fresh foods raw, steamed, roasted, and grilled, the nutrients and minerals are preserved, providing you with a higher yield of energy levels and better absorption and metabolism compared to unhealthy meals.

A healthy diet provides for fundamentally better life choices.


A Few Weeks Before Mediation, Try to Go Omega

Omega-3 fatty acid increases energy, cognitive function, alertness, and blood flow in the brain. The top omega-3 foods are kale, algae and seaweed, flaxseed, walnuts, and fish. Omega-3 is known for helping with the understanding of complex concepts and logical thinking.

Investing in omega-3 diets will prompt better analysis of the issues raised in mediation, performance, and proposal-making processes.


Begin Monitoring Your Water Intake

Water helps the body manage cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone. Interestingly, when you are stressed, your body runs similarly to when you are working out. It is especially noticeable under high-conflict situations when you get out of breath, your heart rate goes up, nausea and vomiting in some extreme cases, and you may even have headaches. But water/hydration can help your body to reduce the impact of stress through hydration.

For an adult, it is recommended to have between 9 and 13 cups of water daily.

Get Moving

Create your schedule so that you get moving daily, even for just 20 minutes. Exercise makes our body feel good, and prompts stress management, prolonging our span of focus.

Movement makes us feel empowered, builds resilience, boosts mental energy states, and releases stress.


Best Time for Mediation

Ensure you schedule mediation at your best time of the day. Ask yourself what is the best time of the day at which I am the most productive. The week of your appointment try to reduce the workload from your responsibilities (e.g., visiting guests, workload, school, house repairs, dental appointments, etc.), freeing your workload and pursuing at least 8 hours of sleep time religiously. Reducing social media scrolling will help you to be calm and prepare your body to be at your very best. Also, consider rituals that are right for you (e.g., include prayer or other spiritual activities that help you to clear your mind and feel protected).

Schedule mediation at your best time of the day to influence accurate decision-making.


What to Avoid

On the day of the mediation, avoid trying new restaurants, new prescriptions, and new clothes, so that they do not distract you from the goals you want to achieve in mediation. Avoid foods or drinks with a lot of caffeine or a lot of sugar so that you don’t have ups and downs or a sugar rush. Move away from toxic relationships. The way you know toxic relationships is when your social battery runs out around them at almost no time.

Staying away from choices that can turn into negative consequences or divert your attention from mediation will allow you to stay in control of the mediation process.



Although mediation can be a successful process, you can take simple wellness steps to achieve better experiences and success in the conflict resolution you desire. What should you do and eat before mediation to achieve more success in decision-making?

  • Focus on the food you eat to impact your mood and cognitive abilities.
  • Follow a diet that empowers cognitive performance.
  • Hydrate to keep your stress levels down.
  • Clear up your schedule.
  • Rest.
  • Move away from individuals who run down your social battery.
  • Schedule your mediation at your best time of day to create a better mindset.
  • Focus on these simple practices to create the dispute resolution you will not regret.

Ekaterina Ricci headshotEkaterina Ricci, MDR, is distinguished for her expertise in high-conflict resolution, mediation, and coaching. With a graduate degree in dispute resolution from Pepperdine Law School and an undergraduate degree in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics from UCLA, she brings a unique blend of legal acumen and scientific insight to her work. As the Live Lab and Pre-Mediation Coach for the High Conflict Institute, Katerina brings a unique approach to conflict from a dual perspective: one rooted in resolution strategies and another informed by her unique biological viewpoint.

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