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Time Out is a simple strategy that will help you manage conflicts by avoiding the negative (and often unintended) momentum that often causes damage to your relationship. If you notice any of the 4 Danger Signs (Escalation, Invalidation, Withdrawal, Negative Interpretation) creeping into your conversations, then it may be time to tap the brakes and take a Time Out.
There are both emotional and physical signals that a Time Out might be needed: heart racing, raising your voice, getting overwhelmed with negative emotions, struggling to communicate clearly, or a fight-or-flight feeling. Use the Time Out to cool off, lower the intensity, or to process if a lot of information has been delivered too quickly. A simple pause in the action is often all that is needed for each of us to compose ourselves and resume the conversation in a healthy and productive manner.
The rules for a Time Out during an argument or stressful discussion are simple.
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