Take a Time Out When Needed
While we may have an urgency to resolve conflict, when things escalate too far it’s much more likely that we won’t do it well.
Instead, we need to take a break — at least 20-25 minutes — and come back at it when we’re more capable of thinking clearly.
This doesn’t mean we can’t have intense conversations full of expressing anger/hurt, it means that when our prefrontal cortex has gone “off-line” we need a pause to reconnect it so that we can bring the best of us forward to resolve conflict well.
When we're emotionally flooded and conversations are quickly escalating, it's useful to take a break.
Research shows that we need at least 20-25 minutes of focusing on something else to reconnect areas of our brain to think more clearly.
This isn't about shutting down a conversation or stone walling someone.
Taking a break is meant to give us a better chance at coming back later and resolving it well.
Examples of What to Say:
"I'm feeling overwhelmed and need to take a break before talking more."
"I need some time to sit with this more before talking further. Can we talk again later today?"
"I notice we're both really upset and before I say something I regret, let's take a pause."