Unusually, Rodney and I have been in the middle of the ocean sort of out of touch with the tensions of politics, but we haven't been immune to the intensity in our newsfeeds. It has been disheartening to see a divide between so many people, but a medium for moving any information and algorithms that encourage divisiveness will yield some separation. This has created intense stress for many people.
Today's note, though a bit behind are five great ways to take it down a notch.
Decide when to engage. Arguments on Facebook can be fruitful when handled with some finesse and proper engagement, however, they also can be a time and energy suck. If you share information and it is countered, decide whether it is worth it to engage in the dialogue. If you have found yourself consistently stressed about comments on Facebook, don't spend too much time making your case. Have confidence that someone else's opinion is not grounds for deep discomfort, but an opportunity for you to think or prepare thoughtful answers.
Meditate anytime you feel tension. Anger can be a great emotion, but how you channel the anger can expose its power. Remain thoughtful in your words. Avoid your quickest response. Breathe. Pause. Quiet the mind.
Exercise. Before entering into any debate, you need to feel focused and calm. Stress balanced with a quick high intensity interval training workout can even your emotions and allow for better communication. Going in too hot generally creates a hot response. Win through thought not aggression.
Don't use memes. Yes, they can be funny, poignant, and viral, but they also are almost always completely degrading. A meme will "say what everyone is thinking" but believe me, it is no way to communicate properly in such intense times. If you would say the meme to a loved one's face without concern for simplifying their position, then post, but if it is degrading in nature, don't share it.
Actually write your opinion. Don't type it from your phone or computer. When our endorphins get going, so do our inhibitions. Sure, Facebook is an easy way to communicate. It gives us an opportunity to be heard by a lot of people. How empowering, right? But it also creates a faceless population eager to selfishly give opinions in as short of a written form as possible. We get things wrong when we do this. And though, I would love to think that we are all master wordsmiths, most of us are not. When we want to be poignant and concise, it is going to take some time. Instead of lambasting your neighbor figure out ways to see people again in their humanity. Write your opinion. Read your opinion. Write your opinion again.
I believe in the power of communication, but until we get better at engaging each other in a proper public dialogue, I suggest you chose your mediums wisely and relieve the angst as much as possible.
Erin and Rod