Let's say your morning is going less than smoothly: Your kids are taking forever to get ready, and you already know you're all going to be late—them for school and you for work. You might think you need to go upstairs and directly tell the kids that they've got to get their act together and be more respectful of your time. But Brackett says these conversations to address conflicts and find solutions should not happen right in the heat of the moment while the conflict is playing itself out.
"Our brains are not ready for that. When we are activated, our brains—our cognitive areas of our brain, the problem-solving parts of our brain, the critical thinking parts of our brain, ability to have calm, reflective discussion parts of our brain—just don't work," he explains. "Don't even bother trying to have the conversation right now. Until you've calmed down, until you're in a relaxed state, you're really not going to be able to do some really interesting problem solving and having intimate discussions."
Brackett recommends saving in-depth discussions on improving family relationships and dynamics (and addressing anything that's not working) for when everyone's in a more levelheaded state, when the brain hasn't already been triggered into that fight-or-flight state.