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.