Why You Need to Take a Breath Before You Hit Send

3rd February, 2021

Why You Need to Take a Breath Before You Hit Send

Have you noticed it too?


Tempers starting to fray all over the country…


Seems like the homeworking/homeschooling Molotov cocktail is increasingly unstable.


We’re all going a little stir crazy and the temptation to vent our feelings on our co-workers is strong right now.


Phrases like ‘I was disappointed to note, Karen…’ and ‘As per my previous email, David…’ flow from our fingertips as seamlessly as clicking ‘buy’ on the latest cashmere loungewear.


It feels so, so good to write and hit send. Or to have that conversation to ‘get a few things off your chest.’


And yet…afterwards you get pangs of regret. Maybe you came on a little strong….maybe you could have been a bit more diplomatic….


And, surprise, surprise, things get worse. You get an angry reply. Or a rap on the knuckles for being ‘over-emotional’ at work.




So what’s really happening here?


Well, you might not really be as annoyed as you think with that other person.


Yes, perhaps they could have handled things better, but it’s not really them that’s the problem.


In reality it might be….


…your spouse/toddler/needy cat driving you nuts.

…the endless grey/rain/darkness that’s getting you down.

…Month 11 of pandemic/lockdown that’s making you. A. Little. Short. On. Patience.


So before you lob your email grenade into the ether, pause.


Take a breath.


Ask yourself what the real problem is. Is it really that colleague/client/co-worker? Or something or someone else entirely?


Write your thoughts down and see how you feel. You might find the writing process so cathartic you don’t need that email or conversation after all.


It can be hard to keep a level head right now. But sometimes, a pause and a deep breath can make all the difference.

University of Cambridge