Keeping calm when we are triggered is such a key leadership skill and a key skill when navigating difficult conversations. 

A new technique I’ve come across recently is something called Havening It’s a simple tool that you can do in the moment, as soon as you notice yourself being triggered. You can also do this tool throughout the day, especially if you are finding yourself feeling triggered a lot or chronically stressed.

Havening was first popularized by US neuroscientist Dr. Ronald Ruden in his 2010 book “When the Past is Always Present.” He called it havening to give the sense that we can create a “safe haven” through touch. Touch also creates a delta brain wave pattern.

Havening has application to PTSD and trauma, and, my application is for difficult conversations, to be more centered for those.

A foundational part of Havening is a self-soothing motion with crossed arms, gently but noticeably stroking from shoulders to elbows. You cross your arms so that one hand rests on each opposite shoulder, then stroke your arms down to your elbows.


Another one, relatedly, is to simply rub your hands together. Mindfully and slowly rub your hands together. Feel the texture. Feel the ridges. Feel the sensations.

Either technique could be done right in the moment. 

You can also add some self-soothing words such as “Safe” “Peaceful” “Calm.”

You can think about the difficult conversation coming up, or the one you are about to enter, and apply the havening technique as you think about those situations. 

There are so many self-soothing techniques and the key is to pick one and practice is multiple times a day. Perhaps this simple one is for you. 

Try it. I’d love to hear!

If you are curious for more, I enjoyed this explanation of havening.

“Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.” … Eckhart Tolle