Why Are People So Fucking Angry, Right Now?

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Is it Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic or Something Else?

I’ve been writing and talking a lot about how we can be better people, how we can be the best and most human-hearted versions of ourselves doing the COVID-19 pandemic.

In my podcast and article from last week, An Invitation to Experience Things As They Are in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I went really deep, to the point that a couple of people suggested I try to “break things down a bit more.” I realize that, while I am deep into the study and contemplation of the Tao Te Ching and how to frame that with my Way of Queer Leadership research, I can go so deep that I might lose the listener.

While that was never my intention, I would invite you to listen to An Invitation to Experience Things As They Are in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic multiple times:

Not to sound egotistical, but I am listening to it again because there were things I said that I only intuited and spoke aloud while recording the episode. This is an approach I sometimes take with my work: I prepare well in advance with written notes, but for that particular episode I allowed myself to go into something like a meditative trance while I was speaking. I didn’t want to hold back or judge my thoughts as they arose. In the review of that episode, I am beyond pleased with what I recorded because I feel I have found the way forward on this path I have been trodding for a very long time.

In this video, I talk about the present and observable factors that explain why we respond or react to the stresses, threats, and challenges that this pandemic has brought into our lives. I discuss,

  • How “hedonic tone” affects (and controls) how we feel which affects our nervous system;
  • The role of the amygdala (the “reptilian” brain) and how it uses our various senses to read the environment to establish the level of threat or safety to us;
  • Why the effects of COVID-19 on society make it challenging to create prediction and response, and thus a feeling of safety and security (low hedonic tone);
  • Why we are hard-wired for negativity as a survival mechanism;
  • Why there is no such thing as a negative mood or mindset;
  • Why good news and good feelings are short-lived and seem to do little to reduce “negativity,” and;
  • How we can witness the world to more easily understand and create strategies to “accept things as they are.”

In times of disruption, how do you make sense of the world?

I have created a short course to guide you through the process of understanding the two aspects (and challenges) of control, i.e. what’s out of your control, and understanding reaction (out of control) versus calm response (in control). By the end of this course, you will know what you are able to control, which will help you to have more peace of mind.

More about the COVID-19 Pandemic:

Header image credit: The Argument by Firesam!

By Darren Stehle

Darren is a leadership coach in Toronto, Canada who helps his clients to connect and embrace their uniqueness and freely create the life they want. He writes and podcasts regularly about Queer Leadership.