A volatile and contentious presidential election campaign has left many people feeling disheartened, frustrated, and even hostile. Our reactions to the presidential contest – and many issues in general – have become so polarized that attempts at discussion can quickly turn into confrontations. These conflicts can negatively impact both our emotional health and social relationships.
Most of us have been in this situation: a discussion over politics devolves into a hotbed of arguments among friends, whether around the dinner table or on social media. Relationships with friends are put under strain.
This can feel overwhelming, but there are steps we can take to bring the hostility down a notch, says Emanuel Maidenberg, clinical professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA’s Semel Institute and David Geffen School of Medicine.
Maidenberg suggests some ways to turn down the heat:
To find more of Maidenberg’s advice, check out his tips for dealing with arguments in The Atlantic.
When you find yourself weighed down by news of violence around the world or fiery debates about politics, remember that you’re not alone. There are steps each of us can take to manage the stress – and turn arguments back into discussions.
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