9 ways to handle face mask conversations | Health Beat

Explore ways to best navigate this controversial topic. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

At Spectrum Health, we strongly encourage our patients, colleagues and families to wear masks, knowing that this is a key factor in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

When challenged by someone who disagrees with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s face mask mandate, think about using words that encourage learning and change, not those that might create conflict.

If you find yourself in a conversation about mask use, here are some strategies to help make these conversations productive and safe.

1. Approach with curiosity.

Don’t assume that someone is intentionally non-compliant. Sometimes people simply forget and are happy to be reminded. If that’s not the case, ask questions such as, “Can you help me understand?” or “Will you share your concerns with me?” This will help you gather more information.

2. Be mindful of your body language.

Are your

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By learning to stay calm in an exchange with someone who’s angry, you’re more apt to keep the situation from escalating. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

There’s been no shortage of stressors in 2020.

“We’ve been socially isolated, disconnected for months at this point, as well as felt a loss of control in many areas of our lives,” said Allyn Richards, PhD, a psychologist with Spectrum Health. “When you pair this with rising tensions, it’s a recipe ripe for stress.”

Hopefully, you’re finding some ways to wrangle your worries and keep your own emotions in check.

But what about those around you? What’s the best way to handle an agitated co-worker, a curmudgeonly neighbor or a grumpy shopper?

“We’re encountering an increasing number of hostile and angry interactions in situations we cannot avoid, including in both our professional and personal lives,” Dr. Richards said.

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