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No matter which political ideologies you agree or disagree with, catastrophizing is creating division on a scale that we haven’t seen in generations.

Every time the right talks about the left, they are reduced to entitled snowflakes, pushing their thought police, trigger warnings and a safe spaces. When the left talks to the right they are the privileged elite, oppressing minorities so they can hold on to their positions of power.

In the DSM-5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, catastrophizing is listed as a marker of anxiety disorders, and CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, actually treats this as a symptom of the mental disorder.

So are we all suffering from anxiety disorders?

Yes and no.

Modern life is much more complicated (if much safer) than the lives of our grandparents. Anxiety is a tragic but rational response to the huge amounts of information we receive daily about issues as big as the fate of the entire planet (climate change) and mass political movements in countries we have never been to.

My hypothesis is that the cure is the following formula:

Ask Questions + More Information (not less) + Nonviolent Communication

When we ask questions we learn, but when we shout slurs at the other side we learn nothing.

“One who knows only their side of the argument knows little of that.”

By asking questions we can get more information and understand more deeply the topic we are talking about.

Nonviolent communication encourages us to listen, which in turn allows others to lower their guard, to hear and be heard, and to find common ground.

Without deciding to see the humanity in every human being, we won’t be able to find a way forward. Stop catastophizing, and connect with what is alive in one another. Only then can we start to break down walls of division.