- Fact: Politicians of every stripe—left, right, middle and waaaaay out there—are masters of pushing people’s buttons and raising anxiety over the terrible consequences if their opponents are elected. Their expertise at stoking fears is matched if not surpassed by today’s media, whose breathless announcements of “breaking news” hype even the most mundane stories as if they were of ultimate (and dire) consequence. In a culture bombarded by such anxiety-raising ploys, little wonder that reactive behaviors of all sorts (road rage, mass shootings, etc.) are on the rise.
- Action: History is replete with examples of the difference that a single individual can make, even in the most troubled situations. Resolve each day to take one simple action in which you will “show up” as a step-down transformer of the anxiety and reactivity swirling around you. It’s ultimately about the power of your calm presence, but the action can be as simple as declining to join in a polarizing conversation or expressing the opinion that the latest political or media hype is exaggerated, distorts reality, and is just about raising fears. Refusing to take the bait, sidestepping the anxiety-hook, will exert a powerful influence on those around you.
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