Category Archives: Managing Emotions

The One Question to Ask Yourself before Speaking

February is a month for celebrating love and loving relationships. Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a romantic partner or not, you probably have several important relationships in your life; a romantic partner, parents, children, a co-parent, friends, and/or coworkers.

When these important relationships are going well, they support your well-being. When they aren’t going well, they can be a significant source of stress in your life.

Communication break downs can be a significant contributor to relationship stress. Conversely, productive communication can be a contributor to relationship building, connection, repair, and health and strength.

You have the power to be a contributor to relationship strength and connection, rather than communication and relationship break-down. Before you say anything…

Then….answer yourself…..honestly.

It’s a simple question. If your answer is “Yes”; then the answer is also simple, go ahead and say what you wanted to say.

If your honest answer to this question is “No”; then the simple answer is, obviously don’t say what you wanted to say.

What’s not so simple is; then, what to do instead? This is a key relationship challenge.

How can you express yourself in a way that ultimately moves you toward the relationship you want with that person?

To accomplish your relationship goals will require:

  • Clarity about what you want in the relationship
  • Communication skills and tools to say what you want to say in a way that supports the relationship goal
  • Space to think about what to say before you speak so that your responses are thoughtful.

Take time to respond, not react.

The simple question you ask yourself gives you the time and space to pause and think, so that you can be intentional with your response.

Try using this question in your conversations this week. What do you notice as a result?


If you would like to build better communication skills, consider the great resources below as well as free tip sheets and pamphlets  and other resources on my website:

Non-violent communication

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Stone, Patton, & Heen

The Power of Two: Secrets to a Strong & Loving Marriage by Heitler

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A Guided Meditation to Help You Cope with Divorce

Divorce is one of the most stressful events and challenging times a person can experience. Life as you know it is upended, the future is unclear and that’s scary. Separating your lives is painful. Feelings of hurt, anger, sadness can be overwhelming. It’s easy to feel lost, stuck, confused. And yet, at the same time… Continue Reading

10 Essentials: Tools for Emotional First Aid (TM)

When I go hiking, I always like to be prepared with the “10 Essentials”. Basically, essential items for navigation, protection, illumination, first-aid, sustenance, and repair to ensure survival outdoors. Being prepared with safety and survival tools has served me well, whether packing the car, a day-hike pack, or a wilderness backpack. This got me thinking… Continue Reading

How to Disagree Graciously in 5 Steps

Ladies and Gentlemen, there’s a whole lot of conflict going on. Of course, I don’t need to tell you this. You know it. Whether it’s at home with a child, sibling, spouse or parent, with friends or coworkers, or within your local, national, or online community you are experiencing or witnessing conflicts. In my office… Continue Reading

The Gift of Peace: The Five C’s of Conflict Communication

by Lisa Gabardi, Ph.D. and Karen Bonnell, ARNP, MS Conflict is an inevitable part of any significant relationship; whether with colleagues at work, with friends, and with family. And when you experience conflict, you need an effective way to manage your experience, communicate effectively, and ultimately resolve the conflict. This is especially true for co-parents… Continue Reading

8 Ways to Raise Happy, Resilient Kids After Divorce

by guest author Terry Gaspard During and after divorce, it’s important for parents to adopt a positive mindset and learn ways to foster their children’s emotional well-being and resiliency. Most children have the capacity to adjust to their parents’ divorce and deal with the changes they’ll be faced with if they have sufficient support. One… Continue Reading

Resolve to be Kind

Making resolutions is a New Year ritual for many. The start of a new year brings possibilities for a fresh start. Many people are cleaning out closets and garages, getting organized, making resolutions about their health, relationships, finances. You might be considering the ways you want to improve your life. In the spirit of new… Continue Reading

Gifts that Inspire Peace and Happiness

It’s holiday season and many of you are making lists of gifts to give and receive. I know that I am! I have friends that are amazing gift givers; they always come up with great ideas. I have other friends that always seem to finish their shopping before Thanksgiving even arrives. Sigh; you know these… Continue Reading

A Simple Meditation to Build Resilience During Stressful Times

Why meditation? Meditation is a practice that promotes greater awareness, relaxation, clarity, calm, compassion, and mental control. At a biological level, meditation may promote slower heart rate, lower blood pressure, reduced production of the stress hormone cortisol, and increased growth and connectivity of brain cells in the higher functioning brain area of the neo-cortex. These… Continue Reading

Your Brain on Divorce: Optimize Your Resilience

During my divorce, my heart would start pounding and my thoughts would race the minute I noticed an email from my attorney or my spouse in my inbox. Fear and dread were my immediate reactions. I had a similar response to texts and voicemail messages.  This is one example of the brain on divorce; easily… Continue Reading