Religion Today: Remaining Calm in an Angry World – How Some Cope
When a bank teller kindly asked a customer to comply with COVID-19 regulations last summer, the patron began cursing and screaming at the teller. “Everyone in the bank could hear him — he even threw a pen at my co-worker,” said Fresno County resident Angelica Ramentas, who was working in the loan department that day.
As the customer stormed out, he threatened to kill someone.
Ramentas rarely witnessed such angry outbursts at her workplace before the COVID-19 pandemic. But she has noticed people becoming increasingly frustrated, impatient and irate.
In fact, a Gallup poll found higher levels of stress, sadness, anger and worry in 2020 than ever before at any point in the organization’s global tracking.
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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 does not escalate. Anger management expert Ryan Martin’s advice in Psychology Today was, “Stay calm, stay safe and don’t make it worse.”
Ramentas agrees. “Instead of adding fuel to the fire, it’s always best to remain calm and be kind to others,” she said.
Ramentas added that prayer and following Bible-based advice she receives as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses help her to cope with upset customers.
Employed at a Fresno County area bank, Angelica Ramentas says she has noticed people becoming increasingly frustrated, impatient and irate in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and public health crisis. “It’s always best to remain calm and be kind to others,” she explains; adding that prayer and her faith as a Jehovah’s Witness help her cope with upset customers. Jehovah’s Witness photo
Frontline workers, airline personnel, educators, and others can attest to a trend of increased aggression, even becoming targets.
Grocery store worker Isaac Virgil of Palmdale, California, recalls customers aggressively snatching low-stock items from shelves and yanking packages of toilet paper away from fellow shoppers. “People have just gotten more anxious and less patient,” Virgil said.
“They seem to only care about themselves and what they need.”
He defuses such situations by remembering the Bible principles his parents have instilled in him. “I’m always polite,” Virgil said. “I try and remember that sometimes the customer can just be having a bad day.”
For fire inspector Roy La Grone of Grand Rapids, Michigan, such volatile situations have posed a particular challenge. “I’ve had a hard time controlling my anger since I was a kid,” he said.
After a four-month medical leave that ended in early 2021, he was anxious to return to work. On his first day back, he made a simple suggestion to the owner of the factory he was inspecting. In a split second, the man erupted into a verbal rant riddled with profanities.
To La Grone, the 150-foot walk to reach the exit door felt like an eternity. The business owner followed him, yelling the entire way, while the office staff stared in stunned disbelief.
“I did everything that I could to try to calm him down,” La Grone said. “I didn’t overreact because I’ve learned that that type of behavior does not help the situation.”
Over the years, La Grone said he has worked hard to minimize his temper. He said that resources from jw.org, the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, were particularly useful in dealing with stress, controlling his anger and remaining calm rather than becoming provoked.
“Imitating the good examples of others and applying Bible principles has helped me to remain calm when under pressure,” he said.
Submitted by Jehovah’s Witnesses – Public Information Desk
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Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).
Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.