How to navigate triggering political conversations

Regardless where you live in the world and what your political beliefs are, it’s a topic that can be triggering, especially when it’s uninvited. These days, politics can make its way into everyday conversations around the dinner table, on social media or in our workplaces. With the Canadian federal election finished and the American election process still underway, we understand you may be struggling with some hard emotions right now.

According to a recent survey by BetterWorks, 87% of employees read political social media posts at work, and 49% have seen political discussions turn into arguments. Out of the 500 survey respondents, 29% said they have been less productive since the election. [The Ladders]

While you may not be able to avoid every conversation, there are ways to navigate these conversations mindfully with a few tips:

  1. Try taking a step back: we need to remind ourselves sometimes that everyone has an opinion and our opinions won’t always be the same. When conversations about politics arise, it can be easy to get sucked into believing you are right or trying to convince the other person that they are wrong. Instead of going down this road, try to be mindful and take a step back when you need to. You don’t always have to engage in the conversation.
  2. Be mindful of negative emotions: negative feelings that can arise in these conversations can leave us feeling angry, bitter or resentful. While it’s healthy to take note of those feelings, if they persist, they can affect other aspects of our life. Productivity could start lacking at work, or these emotions can be compounded and something may trigger a big reaction later on. If you notice you are feeling overcome with negative feelings, it’s a good idea to address these with a therapist, someone who can listen actively or seek meditation or other resources that work for you.
  3. Try empathy: try to put yourself in the shoes of the person you are engaged in argument or conversation with. By seeing things from their point of view, you may find you have more compassion.
  4. Be respectful: if you can’t find common ground with someone, try to offer them respect and you can always agree to disagree.

When we understand our interconnectedness, it’s understanding that we are connected but yet we’re different, and we see things from different perspectives and hopefully our awareness and our feeling of compassion can help us in negotiating these differences. [Mindful]

We wish you a mindful head and heart in this time.

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