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Bugeja: Keep your composure with so much sharpness | opinion

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Everyone seems angry, betrayed, legitimate, upset, disadvantaged – new American norms affecting every area of ​​life – from viral karens and frenzied kens to berserk travelers and conspiratorial lawmakers.

What has happened to the Americans in the past ten years?

Many accuse fake news. Other, social media. And some say we respond psychologically to real looting and disenfranchisement.

Whatever the cause, many of us seem to lack composure. Simply defined, serenity is a feeling of serenity after criticism or crisis, knowing that we have the means to deal with any situation that might arise.

Life is hard enough without the coronavirus. Wearing masks is useful and essential. But that has sparked all kinds of rebellion, covering your mouth and obscuring identity when many of us are trying to voice complaints.

An article in the New York Times, “The March of the Karens,” links this name to “some kind of disruptive, intrusive white woman, the self-proclaimed hall guard who is let loose on the world,” and calls for the police to act in the event of trivial or imaginary transgressions to speak .

There is no consensus on the name of the male version of Karen, although “Ken” is gaining traction. He is described as a legitimate snob who is not satisfied with anything, “an idiot for the waiters who always wants to talk to the boss”.

The Times article makes a striking observation. A Karen or Ken “has only words as weapons, and those words no longer have as much power as they used to.” As a result, they resort to people with real power to get their wishes through, and they fight back. “

That makes them angry.

A stinging reprimand for this reaction is Stephen Colbert’s satirical rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” from “The Late Show” host, with the theme changed to “I beg you, please only wear a mask.”

Masks have sparked a surge in recalcitrant air passengers, with the Federal Aviation Administration fined more than $ 1 million. Between January and August, the FAA recorded 3,889 reports of recalcitrant behavior, “nearly three-quarters of which were passengers allegedly refusing to comply with the state face mask mandate at airports and on airplanes.”

The anger does not subside when you are in cars and trucks, with or without masks. In the past seven years, traffic anger has attributed approximately 12,610 injuries and 218 murders. A statistical report leads to drunk driving, mental breakdowns, and emotional distress.

Americans feel emotionally tense because of the partisan politics. According to Science Daily, “Nearly 40 percent of Americans interviewed for a new study said they were being stressed by politics, and 4 percent – the equivalent of 10 million US adults – reported having suicidal thoughts about politics .

A 2016 report by the Pew Research Center found, for the first time since 1992, that “majorities in both parties express not only unfavorable, but very unfavorable views of the other party”. About 55 percent of Democrats are afraid of Republicans and 49 percent of Republicans are afraid of Democrats.

An article in Psychology Today entitled “The Politics of Fear” explains how politicians use this emotion to divide us, often with the help of the media. “Fear is a very powerful tool that can blur people’s logic and change their behavior.”

Americans were scared of the pandemic. The fear is at its zenith. An article in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders states that anxiety is a normal response to the presence of danger. “However, when the threat is uncertain and persistent, as with the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, fear can become chronic and distressing.”

We see segments in the news regularly. Fear is at the core of anger in shops, cars, airplanes, and on the floor of the Congress. Everyone wants to give their opinion, no matter who it hurts or offends.

As Benjamin Franklin once remarked, “Thinking aloud is a habit that is responsible for most of the misery of mankind.”

The antidote is serenity. It’s missing at the moment, but it’s not dead yet.

Forbes published a useful article on how to stay calm in difficult times. Here are recommendations:

g Don’t take things personally and let emotions dominate your day.

g Maintain a positive mental attitude and show confidence in everyday activities.

g Act decisively when situations call for it, but also be responsible for your actions.

g Remain calm in a crisis. Talk less. Better listen.

These are easy to remember but difficult to practice. But the more you do, the more others will pay attention to and train this behavior, especially in the workplace.

To accomplish this, Franklin practiced a daily routine. When he woke up every morning he imagined the good he would do in the world. When he went to bed every night, he thought about how well he was doing his intentions.

For better or for worse, we all wear the mask of moral character that no cloth covering can hide.

Serenity reflects this character and enables you to rise above the daily annoyances that plague us.

Michael Bugeja is a former director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University in Ames and the author of Living Media Ethics and Interpersonal Divide in the Age of the Machine. This column was first published by Iowa Capital Dispatch at iowacapitaldispatch.com.

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