Break the Chain of Negativity: 6 Tips to Reduce Volatility & Cultivate Calm in 2020 by Anne O. Boudreau
With the election weeks away and the coronavirus pandemic touching Americans from the president down, people are suffering symptoms of fear, anxiety and uncertainty fanned by political antipathy, disrespect and divisiveness.
There is an alarm bell going off now, and it’s ringing constantly and obtrusively. If you allow yourself to get brought into that heaviness, tension and anxiety, it is going to control how you feel and how you engage with anybody, from your family and friends to people at the grocery store.
With so much hyperbolic language and peculiar behavior everywhere, how do we maintain calmness, equanimity and equilibrium in the center of extreme chaos? We need to be able to temper all that volatility and worry over what is going to happen. Here are some tips to help people de-escalate tension and cultivate calm:
- Don’t Assume People Are Your Enemy: Despite the volatility in our current climate, making assumptions about another person’s intentions is never a wise position to take. Rather than reacting with anger or irritation, accept another’s point of view and agree to disagree. This will cut through unnecessary strain.
- Find a Common Ground: With all of the raw divisiveness in the air, rather than recycling sensitive topics with others, establish a level playing field for communication that is based on something you both enjoy or love, whether it is a hobby, sports, music or other area of common interest. This will mitigate strain and foster commonality and mutual respect.
- Be the Person to Diminish the Acrimony: It is always wise to take the path of least resistance when it comes to areas of strife. Rather than responding to comments with equal or greater insults, be the person to quell challenging conversations and differences of opinion. It is sensible to silence potentially volatile conversations before they become heated by regulating your own emotions and approaching others with a cool head.
Here are three practices to help people let go of uncomfortable and unhelpful thoughts and feelings to protect their health, well-being and relationships:
- Check in With Yourself: Paying attention to your mental, emotional and physical condition will make you far less likely to succumb to negative triggers, controversial discussions, personal attacks or other stressors.
- Understand Your Triggers: A trigger is a stimulus that invokes a painful memory. When you are able to identify negative triggers, you can address them before they ruin your day. Be aware of triggers by paying attention to your thoughts and emotions as they flow through you.
- Transform Negative Thoughts: Cognitive defusion is an effective process to transform your relationship with distressing thoughts and painful emotions by learning to observe them and detach from them rather than believe you are one with them.
Detachment does not mean you don’t care. It is an objective nonjudgmental state of mind that allows you to separate from old destructive patterns.
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