Consulting firm Lennick Aberman Group has some words of advice for financial advisors in light of the current market chaos—keep thinking. “Extreme emotions can often lead to poor decision-making,” according to Doug Lennick, founding partner and CEO of LAG, a behavioral advisor whose clients include American Express and Charles Schwab. “It’s understandable to experience fear, anxiety, and uncertainty right now, but it might not be the best time to make a reflexive decision.”

It’s biological. “The field of neuroscience tells us that when we experience extreme emotions, the physiology of our brain actually restricts rational thought,” Lennick explains. “When a triggering event occurs, the part of our brain that experiences emotions responds within 12 milliseconds, while the rational part of our brain responds in 40 milliseconds.”

LAG has developed a technique he calls the “4 R’s” to bridge that 28-millisecond gap between the irrational and the thoughtful response: “Recognize your own experience; reflect on the big-picture and the long-term, and what you care about most; reframe your self-talk to account for biases and avoid quick, reflexive responses; and respond with a decision that is consistent with your principles, values and goals.” Those milliseconds will fly right by.

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