Engaging online with images and stories about important democratic matters can kindle strong emotions. Sometimes the emotions are joyful; other times fear and anxiety are triggered. The adrenaline rushes of these responses can be overwhelming.

This practice invites you to welcome the anger, fear, and anxiety. In the first step, take a deep breath and acknowledge the emotion that you feel instead of trying to ignore it or let it consume you. Next, close your eyes and give the emotion a personality and/or a shape. Perhaps it takes on the persona of an animal or character. Ask it why it is there and what it needs or longs for. Chances are, it is trying to protect you from something or help you figure out your passion for what you think the world needs. Finally, reflect upon what this emotional part needs to allow it to relax.

Often your wisdom will arise when you welcome these emotions instead of reacting to them. Reflecting on emotions gives you a wonderful place to start when you encounter diverse perspectives.

Kristin Ritzau in Practicing Democracy Online