Dr. Marc Brackett is founder of Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence and author of the book “Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves and Our Society Thrive.”
He says even when we’re determined to behave or react a certain way, there are no guarantees we will. He suggests using what he calls the four-step Meta-Moment to quickly reel yourself in before you go off.
- First, sense the shift. Recognize that you’re activated, caught off guard, or have an impulse to say or do something you might regret later.
- Then stop and pause. Step back, breathe, and then breathe again.
- Next, see your best self. Use images or adjectives to bring your best self into your mind’s eye.
- Finally, strategize and act. Consult your toolkit of healthy, mutually respectful responses, and choose the path that will bring you closer to alignment with your emerging best self.