While working several food service shifts at a medical facility, Somerset County, Maryland, resident Christel Casteel has observed patients becoming disagreeable and increasingly verbally aggressive.
I think when people are miserable, it doesn't take much for them to get angry,” said Casteel.
She recalls several instances where she has been the recipient of verbal abuse. When that happens she defuses such situations by remembering the Bible principles that have molded her personality. “I try to be compassionate and help them see that we do care," she said. “I have to remind myself of the situation they are in. If it wasn't for their current circumstance, they wouldn't react like this.”
In fact, a Gallup poll found higher levels of stress, sadness, anger, and worry in 2021 than ever before at any point in the organization’s global tracking.
Whether victim or observer, an encounter with aggressive or angry behavior can catch anyone off guard. Experts say remaining calm is key to ensuring that a precarious situation doesn’t escalate. Anger management expert Ryan Martin’s advice in Psychology Today was, “Stay calm, stay safe, and don’t make it worse.”
Frontline workers, airline personnel, educators and others can attest to a trend of increased aggression, even becoming targets.
Casteel said that resources from jw.org, the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, such as the article “Getting Along With Others” and the video titled “Who Would Come Back to People Like Us” were particularly useful in remaining calm rather than becoming provoked.
“It's difficult to understand how someone could so mean to a mere stranger," Casteel said. "But meditating on Bible principles helps me to continue praying for them and giving a mild response, which may calm the person down.”