Stress management and BSL

Written by Steve Barker of the Dog Legislation Council of Canada. Shared with permission.

How To Manage Your Stress When Fighting Breed-Specific Legislation

1. Do not read online comments under news articles. Online comments are made by two types of people: those who agree 100% with breed bans and those who disagree 100% with breed bans. They are almost always activists who are already involved in fighting the battle on either side. Nobody in online comments will ever be persuaded to change their point of view. Also, nobody except these two types of people read all of the comments under the articles.

2. Try not to click on obviously pro-BSL articles. They are looking for clicks which translate into advertising revenue for the news organizations. Why help them increase their revenue? Also, from a purely positive-reinforcement point of view, why give them a reward for publishing their crap? They’ll just do it more if it works. Plus, it will only raise your blood pressure so, for your own health, don’t click.

3. Do not share news articles that have false information in them. Again, if the news organizations can’t do adequate research, they don’t deserve to make money from their articles. Instead, copy/paste the text if you want to share it. Copyright be damned. If they did their job properly, we wouldn’t have to avoid clicking on their stories.

4. Don’t get into arguments online. If someone is asking a legitimate question and you can give them a reasoned, logical answer without overreacting, then by all means go ahead. But as soon as the other person gets aggressive, just end the conversation. It’s not worth it for your mental health and they’ve made it clear that you’re not going to persuade them anyway.

5. Protect your time religiously when it comes to talking to the media. They will interview you for an hour or more and then put your worst 10 seconds into a newscast. They will run you ragged. If your name is out there as someone to talk to, you’ll get 5 e-mail messages and 3 phone calls all asking for interviews. You’ll be on the phone for hours or running from studio to studio and, in the end, a tiny fraction of what you say will ever make it to the public and it’s never the part you’d like the public to read or hear. Live interviews (particularly radio) are best because you won’t be edited.

6. Take a break from social media and go do something else. You can spend hours reading and liking and commenting without actually accomplishing anything and you will be exhausted afterwards.

7. Consider the 80/20 rule (Pareto Principle – look it up). Of all the things I’m currently doing, what 20% of those things will get me 80% of the results? What one thing, if I do it now, will have the biggest impact? Maybe that is writing a blog post or researching facts or writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper. Arguing online with a single person who doesn’t want to hear your side anyway would count as part of the 80% waste of time.

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