THE TIME OUT PROCESS
Notice "offness" --> Stop --> breathe deeply, --> relax --> look (scan) --> decide,
slowly feeling, thought correct it
Gently ask for "time out", to get back to a settled, clear, alert state of being.
Not allow "offness" over a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10. Correct to "best functioning", physically (completely relaxed, in homeostasis) and emotionally (completely calm, cool, in higher brain) - you haven't finished until that is achieved - you simply don't stop part way.
Great routines highly functioning, rapid learning and correcting
CENTRAL, ESSENTIAL TO LIFE
One of the very essential tactics/strategies for living a good life is a very, very simple tool, though knowing when to implement it takes a bit of learning and training and practice. It must be a key practice in your life if you want to live at a high level of true living. It is also an important relative to meditation, calming down, peace of mind, and the like.
A time-out is simply a 'time space'" (often called a "sacred pause") that you create in order to rebalance or reconstitute yourself so that you can resume functioning optimally, in a way that produces better results.
Taking a time out actually helps to rewire your brain in two ways.
1. It says that you are intervening and that you are exerting control, which says to your primitive watching-out-for-danger system that it can relax, as the world is safely in your hands. It is an assertiveness tool - and whenever you assert yourself (your higher brain), you are sending a message that is the opposite of powerlessness and one that is assuring the alarm system that you've "got this area handled, so don't bother to think about danger and protecting from such possible threats - I am on the job, you go do something else, thanks."
2. It also changes your brain by programming in an alternative routine that is automatic as a way to handle stress and upset. Eseentially, it becomes a habit, but one that is not accidentally practiced and engrained and harmful. It is a habit that creates greater workability in your life.
THE MECHANICS OF IT ALL - TO RESPECT AND USE APPROPRIATELY
It seems that our higher brain shuts down whenever we get into a fight/flight/freeze mode, as that is part of the process designed to protect us from harm - we activate what is needed and deactivate what is not needed to do the battle - and we don't need the slow thinking brain (or at least that is what occurred through evolution).
At times, your primitive brain is totally dominating, fighting what it considers to be a big threat - and you're thinking and acting in craziness.
ALWAYS A SIGN - PAY ATTENTION AND YOU CAN BE IN CHARGE INSTEAD OF...
The signs are easy to detect if we are at all mindful.
We feel "upset", angry/resentful, attacked (even if the other person is only discussing your beliefs, if you think they are somehow a part of you), (It is important to learn not to artificially identify your beliefs as being you, rather than just some periphery stuff you have. Read Who I Am - and, I recommend, know it and believe it totally and see it clearly, as it is a central, central concept for viewing life.
All of these are signs:
Confused (not clear thinking)
Not thinking, on automatic (i.e. your primitive brain is running the show!)
Attacking (evilizing either the other person or anyone),
Fighting (for justice and what is right, trying to straighten up the world, in a frenzied attempt to
control the unconftrollable, such as controlling the other person)
Extremizing (exaggerating, catastrophizing, such as "if the are in power they will do nothing for
...., they don't care at all."
Voices are raised and louder
"Caught up" in it all,
You get the idea.
But the overall label that is appropriate for all of these is "upset". So I just ask myself "am I or the other person upset right now. If so, then rebalance to what is functional - and to right thinking.
WHAT DO I SAY?
I need to take a break right now.
Let's take a break right now.
I think it would be best to take a break now, to regain workability. calm down, clear our minds, to get fresh or ... (this is a judgment when we say "our", as we are saying the other person's thinking is unclear or that they are upset - so they could get upset about that!)
SETTING IT UP AHEAD OF TIME WHEN OTHERS ARE INVOLVED
Negotiating, as an adult
You can pretty much bet that there will be upsets that occur when people are negotiating for what they want. The lower brain can go nuts, magnifying the threat(s) of not getting what one wants (instead of the higher level thinking of compromise, where one gets part of what he wants, but more than he would have otherwise gotten. Maturity demands that you learn to compromise without making the other person the enemy or thinking that he/she has to come over to agree with you and/or give you what you want. A leader is not a good leader if he does not do that. I've seen a particular leader so all of the opposites of what would be better to do, including blaming the other side for not coming to agreement and/or "forcing" him to compromise.
In any of our controversial discussions or situations where we want something from the other, we are dong something that is, or is similar to, negotiating.
The key here is that we are "adult" enough, by habit and attitude, that we implement the tool so that we can get back to operating as an adult when we inevitably find ourselves "upset" and our primitive brain running the show, in fight (or flight) mode.
Explaining it and making it ok
If we want the other to engage in a time-out with you and to get the benefits of it, it would be a good idea to enroll them in the usefulness of the time-out. (Yes, it is good to settle yourself back down, but if the other party is still in any level of craziness and defensiveness you'll not be able to negotiate very well with them.
"I would like to propose a particular strategy that I think could be useful for us to have permission to engage in. OK?"
"I use this technique because I read that it is inevitable in any negotiating that people will become uncomfortable or upset - and if that continues for awhile things begin to be less productive.
(You could even have a sheet that explains it, also. But it is best to get permission for taking time outs, although, if they don't agree to them, then you'll simply have to say "let's take a break and come back in __ minutes", let's take a timeout and refresh ourselves,
WHAT TO DO IN THE TIME-OUT
Obviously, if you're in a time out, you've implemented the first required step to recover from the upset: you've stopped, paused.
Then you breathe, deeply and slowly, even sighing as you release. Scanning your body.
You can use the standardized technique under Upset.
"LOOKING" WHILE IN THE TIMEOUT
Part of the functionality of the time out is that we get to look at what is actually going on and then decide how to approach what is going on in a constructive way.
SOMETIMES THE TIMEOUT SHOULD BE MORE EXTENSIVE
With a couple, in a fight for the relationship, there can be a big, big threat that is hard to "come down from". Or an intense negotiation, where more time is need to settle down and/or think. Or a big, big threat or complicated, so it'll take more time to sort it out and do whatever is necessary to come back in a constructive way.
Therefore, it may be appropriate to take a bigger break:
Break for an hour or two, or even a day.
Have time to write about it and to decide what you want and a good way to go about it.
Break for a long enough time to no longer be in HALTS (hungry, angry, lonely. tired - and/or scared).
Or just give them a printout of this piece and give them the respect of being honorable, responsible, and willing to use a technique that is helpful, for they, too, want to create a good result for all concerned (with of course a bias toward getting more of what they want!). Yes, there is a possibility that the other person or persons could think this is kooky or touchy feely or wimpy, but it is just to deal with something that is always true of each human being, where all of us are subject to it - it's just human, period.
A SPECIAL WARNING
In a discussion involving teaching and implementing the time out tool, ironically, we somehow "forgot" to stop early on and we got beyond the "tipping point" (the point of no return, into relative oblivion) - and it all blew up, in tiredness and dysfunctionality, into the non-thinking that occurs when we are outside the optimal thinking zone.
And one of the things we had discussed before that is how we think we can "get away" with violating the boundaries. "Oh, I'll just go ahead and continue the negotiating process. I can handle it this time." And it didn't work, as she let herself go all the way to the tipping point, exhausting herself and getting poor results (or results that were not worth the emotional and physical price).
Unless you are in an emergency where you cannot possibly stop, you must notice where you are (and give it a number on a scale from 0 to 10, low to high, stress) and then implement The Short Pause if there is no way to do it longer or the time out tool, relaxing the body/breath/mind to back within range, and to 0 if you have time.