Political Stoking of Fear and Anxiety

Do they Hijack Your Amygdala to Control You?

Did the image get your attention?

Fear and anxiety are indeed palpable in today’s society. Its prescience combined with today’s push-button-instant-gratification-social-media-driven-from-our-pocket lives, means that we also expect quick fixes and next day deliveries, that when not met, our bodies immediately flush with yet another cascade of hormones that stimulate dissatisfaction or worse.

Next, we look for someone to swoop in to solve our situation. Or blame for the mess. And we all have good reason to believe (amounts of data showing how widely spread the problem is) it’s not our fault and there is little we can do about it in the face of the size of the problem.

Would it be terrible to consider there may be a significant piece of the picture we are missing?

What if our oversight has something to do with  what we are NOT doing?

Of course its hard to calculate the impact of something we didn’t do. But going forward, we can test out the action-oriented assumption that there are some things we can do differently. And not give up so easily!

The challenge with this approach is that strangely enought, it does start with a little more navel gazing. Well, at least some efforts at self-assessment and self-regulation (or if you prefer, self-mastery).

More specifically, some time put into reflection, mindfulness, and a willingness to get a little uncomfortable—intentionally. That is, we will need to consider that effort made to cultivate emotional intelligence (EQ) and the like, are the kind of investment that are urgently needed and that investment can have massive, life-long returns on that investment. After all, each of us takes our skills and abilities to connect, assess, understand, empathize into each and every personal and professional relationship, today and every day of our lives. Could there be anything more pivotal to our success than improving our capacity to engage another human or group of humans?

This is what brings us back to the value of things like emotional intelligence that refers to our ability to understand and regulate our own emotions and empathize with others. It is quite simply, fundamental to our lives.

By cultivating greater emotional intelligence, we can develop the capacity to effectively handle fear and anxiety, rather than being overwhelmed or controlled by them.

It’s important to recognize that fear and anxiety are natural emotions that serve a purpose in our lives. They can alert us to potential threats or dangers and mobilize us to take action. However, when these emotions run amok and become excessive or debilitating, it can negatively impact our well-being and decision-making.

Personal practices such as mindfulness, self-reflection, and stress-management techniques can help calm and benefit from fear and anxiety. These practices allow us to observe and acknowledge our emotions without being consumed by them, creating space for more rational thinking and constructive responses.

By increasing our emotional intelligence and developing personal practices to manage fear and anxiety, we can empower ourselves to navigate these emotions more effectively and build resilience in the face of challenges. This, in turn, can contribute to a healthier and more balanced society overall.

What am I missing?

If there is one way to get someone to act on cue, scare them. We all know how that works. Boo!

So what if someone constantly agitates and only ever says things to you that they know will get a rise out of you, are they really looking after your best interests?

Think again. Why do they do that? Let me guess, they want to get you to do something that suits their agenda. In all fairness, sometimes that may also be in your best interests. But what are the odds, that someone who doesn’t know you, and who is a pathological liar, known to have a big ego and small hands is going to think all day, every day, about how to make your life better?

Ok, so not everyone is Donald J. Trump. And that’s not really the point here (well it is a little.) The point is, as the bully in the school playground learns so quickly, power is a powerful motivator. Marketers have normalized use of fear, for example FOMO, as the most obvious simple tactic in sales that even works on people who know the tactic is being used. Look, this is not rocket science. And there is plenty of science to support it.

What we are missing is clarity around:

  • Mindfulness and Self-Reflection: Encourage individuals to cultivate mindfulness and self-reflection practices.

  • Media Literacy and Critical Thinking: Promote media literacy and critical thinking skills.

  • Empathy and Active Listening: Foster a culture of empathy and active listening in conversations and interactions.

  • Constructive Dialogue and Bridge Building: Promote constructive dialogue and bridge-building across differences.

  • Community Building and Collective Action: Encourage community building and collective action to address societal challenges.

What steps can I take?

This is where we have done a good part of the work to create tools and practices that not only work, but are exceptionally powerful. Engineers spend hours developing some of today’s best tools and machinery so that users can get to work on constructing solutions for their unique situation. They don’t really want to know how or even why a tool works so well, they just want it to work. Beautifully.

Our “tools” are no less importantly built out based on principles, and consideration of practical use. That’s why we have a small suite of tools for you:

TQ™20; LAMPP; we also map out the Mage Mindset (and have a small Mage MasterMind Community.)

In short:

  1. Build core capacities that include “emotional life fitness (ELF)” using the TQ™20
  2. Commit to 3Cs (curiosity, cwestions, calm) in conversation
  3. Trigger your LAMPP as often as you can
  4. Aim for creative collaboration to construct innovative outcomes fromconversations
  5. Engage with a community of people working to address societal changes.