1. When everyone around you is getting really tense, put on your saddest face ever.
If there is yelling and screaming, loud, angry voices, pacing and maybe too much alcohol being consumed, just put on a sad face. Make it super mopey, with your saddest, biggest puppy dog eyes. In other words, just look really pitiful. Pretty soon they’ll notice you. They’ll start to say things like, “Oh, I’m so sorry sweetie, am I upsetting you?” Then some nice petting will ensue. They’ll rub your ears, and probably hug you, very gently, maybe they’ll coo a little bit or hum a soothing tune. Things will begin to feel better almost immediately. Use this tactic as often as you can.
2. If a stranger enters the room and you feel frightened because they are strange and unknown and you expect them to unleash all kinds of mayhem — bark at them! Bark really loudly. (But, if they approach nicely, follow the protocol below.)
If they are “Other” with a different viewpoint, you can bark and threaten to bite their ankles to let them know you are very serious. BUT!
If they get down to your level and try to see things from your perspective and try to make you feel safe —
THEN! Then, you must kiss them! Kiss them all over. Kiss them to smithereens. Now you are friends, regardless of the extreme difference in your viewpoints.
3. When your friends show up, get super excited. Show them your appreciation by jumping on them and pawing them and making joyful noises.
Our friends are experiencing so many emotions right now. It’s important to make them feel appreciated. It’s ok to be overly excited — in fact it’s required. Everyone has a need to feel acknowledged — please acknowledge them wildly!
4. When your friends get stuck on the couch and become consumed by the blathering box of bad news, just sit quietly next to them.
It’s important to touch them, but don’t talk. Your stillness is important. It brings peace and balance. It lets them know that stillness is the antidote, stillness is the path to healing. Giving and receiving comfort is how we will all heal. Remember — words are not required.
5. If all else fails, cover yourself in blankets and don’t come out until you feel better.
No one needs your anxiety and tense emotions clogging up the energy in the room. When you start to feel this way, remove yourself immediately and go take a nap. If possible, curl up in the fetal position, cover yourself with lots of softness and just breathe. This is the most restoring thing you can do for yourself. When you feel better, go out into the world and give freely of yourself! Hugs are good. Big wet kisses are better. We all need comfort. It’s important to take care of yourself. Be good to your body and be kind and forgiving in your mind. Rest up, ‘cause it’s gonna be a long four years!