*Why are people so defensive in the world today?

The saddest thing just happened today. I asked a person from Facebook, who has a blog, for some assistance with something that they do on a regular basis. I don't know this person except through their blog and they don't know me at all. This person became very defensive, angry even, because I asked a simple for guidance.

It shows the state of the world these days. People are on the edge of anger at any time of day or night. It's like there is adrenaline or cortisol flying around in the air making everyone remain in the fight or flight mode 24/7.

This creates quite a problem, as I'm sure we've all noticed in the past 2 years or so. It's seen in the riots, fights, vandalism, and violence we see everywhere these days.

What's a person to do? It's not like we can just shut off our fight or flight response, and even if we could, we can't shut off someone else's.

That may be the case, but there are things we can do for ourselves. If one side of the argument can remain calm, it's more likely the situation won't reach grim results.

The old adage of counting to ten before reacting can benefit you if you add to it a couple more steps. Think of it more like 4-4-10 instead. Breathe in for the count of four and then out for the count of four, and do this ten times. By this time,your parasympathetic nervous system will be activated and the cortisol in your system will start to flush out.

Taking longer, deeper breaths during stressful times will help alleviate the anger that might otherwise build up and lead to a violent outburst of some sort.

Removing yourself from the situation will also allow you to regain your composure and let cooler heads prevail.

The thing about anger with a stranger is that we really don't know what is going through the stranger's mind, or what is happening in their lives. We really should give people the benefit of the doubt. It's so expectant that everyone abide by our rules and our expectations, that when someone disregards those expectations, we believe they are reacting disrespectfully towards us.

That's not always the case. We need to be able to step back and look at the situation on a less personal level. Most of the time, people aren't acting stupid to disrespect us, but only because that's the way they believe the situation requires them to act.

In other words, if I'm at the store and the person in front of me has thirty items in a twelve item lane, I shouldn't immediately believe that they are trying to disrespect me or the twelve item rule. Maybe they are a non-custodial parent who is late for their child's birthday party. Or, maybe the clerk was free and waved them into their line.

On the other hand, so many people feel a sense of entitlement these days. It's all about me and what I need. In order to make the world a better place, we all need to start putting others first again. The feeling you get from giving to others--in this case, time--can be one that you can savor long enough to get to the next act of giving.

If we all started treating each other better than we think they deserve to be treated, things would really change in this world. The Golden Rule of 'Treat others as you would like to be treated' still stands. It is possible to diffuse someone's anger, simply by treating the other person better than you want them to treat you.

We can't control other people, but we can control our own actions. What are you going to do about it?