I’m curious why so many people in society seem to be addicted to drama, extremes, chaos and the fantastical? I’d like to blame the younger generations for this odd obsession with mania, but I happen to know many people my age as well as older generations who are afflicted with the same condition.

I often wonder what influences are causing this. Is it that media sensationalizes and over-dramatizes every little thing they report? When I watch the news, I am frequently amazed at the language used and excitability that emanates from the newscasters themselves. Just in reporting the weather, terms like ‘horrific’ and ‘terrifying’ are used to describe common, frequent occurrences with weather patterns (patterns that have happened cyclically for hundreds of years, I might add), definitely inciting drastic reactions in viewers. Better ratings that way, I suppose. And don’t even get me started on the outrageous statements made during presidential campaigns. Sensationalism at its finest. Totally not looking forward to the rest of the year in this department as we head toward November <yuck>.

So, why do so many people feed into outrageousness? Why is everything such a damned emergency or so over-the-top? Where’s the fire? It seems like people are just high on reactivity, and I haven’t figured out whether that is the result of being besieged with the frenzy promoted on TV and social media which creates the mass hysteria, or whether people’s tendency to enjoy that heightened sense of urgency and alarm in their lives makes the media outlets just respond to that need. It’s the old chicken/egg query: which came first?

What causes people to become so comfortable with panic and outrage? Can’t we all just take a collective deep breath? Imagine a world where people just use critical thinking skills to differentiate between actual danger or alarm, and perceived threat and crisis, and perhaps ultimately halt the spoon-feeding of what some are trying to “sell us.” Maybe we can apply perspective, stop and say to ourselves, “How truly important or factual is this ‘news’ or supposed tragedy in the grand scheme of things?” I really believe that is what’s missing in today’s society. So many things seem overblown and have a huge sense of disaster attached to them and, as a result, people are getting more and more desensitized. Stress and crisis is the default for many, so there seems to be a desire to up the ante on the drama factor. People don’t feel normal if there isn’t some heightened sense of histrionics going on in their lives at all times. They are bored without it. Frankly, it seems some people feed off the drama and are obsessed with acting and reacting.

Enter neutrality. Neutrality allows you to see clearly. Staying neutral when receiving information instead of reacting (or sometimes overreacting) allows time for a proper response. Keeping your emotional gauge in neutral requires some work, but once you start regularly checking yourself, it begins to get easier. It also has some amazing health benefits in that it reduces cortisol levels from that stress load that constantly being reactionary tends to elevate. Neutrality is simply a healthier state of being.

So, the next time you find yourself or a friend or loved one coming unglued about something, ask the question, “Is this really life or death?” If the answer is yes—RUN! Otherwise, take a deep breath, don’t believe everything you read, hear and initially think, and employ neutrality before responding.