An important aspect of any relationship is healthy communication during conflict. When tension and emotion in a relationship are running high, it has the potential to bring out the worst in us. The urge to fight or flight gets activated in our brains, and without awareness we may react to the person next to us as a threat, instead of an ally. If this happens, it may cause our communication to become aggressive - as we fight to win, or we may shut down and submit to the pressure of the relationship. Neither of these outcomes is a win/win for the relationship. One of my favourite ways to keep calm in a high stakes conversation is to prepare myself by asking clarifying questions. What is the outcome I want in this situation? What do I want for myself? What do I want for the other person? And what do I want for the relationship? Try this practice next time you are stressing about or involved in an important conversation.