Do you react quickly in difficult conversations and then wish you’d thought it through a little more first ? Do you find that your own emotional triggers get in the way of having a positive interaction with a colleague, and end up making things worse? Sometimes we just need to take a few minutes break to prepare ourselves better before we respond; other times we may need to take longer – it can take at least 20 minutes to calm ourselves after being triggered into feelings of anger. This is another in Ike Lasater’s ‘Workplace Tips’series to help you make the most of your work day.
“Sometimes the best we are able to do may be to remove ourselves from the situation in order to give ourselves empathy and reconnect with our needs.”
– Ike Lasater, Words That Work In Business
Workplace Communication Tip
Taking the Time You Need
When we’re not in the space of compassionate intention and we’re triggered, sometimes removing ourselves from the situation for a few minutes is the best solution. However, how we remove ourselves will help prevent triggering others in turn when we give ourselves that space.
For instance, if you find yourself triggered during a conversation with a coworker, ask for a short break, but be clear about this request and own it. Clarify that your intention is to take a few minutes to reconnect and regroup, and that you want come back later to reengage in the conversation.
You can also say something like “I’m going to the bathroom,” when you anticipate that your desire to regroup won’t be well received, or it isn’t appropriate to communicate (such as in a meeting).
By taking this “time out” you’re actually taking a “time in” — to give yourself empathy and reconnect to your intention to make a compassionate connection.
Mindful Practice for the Week
This week, find ways to remind yourself to take a “time in” as you need it. Breathe, and use silent and/or self-empathy to reconnect with your feelings and needs.
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From The Conflict Tool Box, published by Mediation Matters