A neutral space starts within your own thoughts, where your deepest beliefs and strongest values are stored, because those are the flint and steel that spark anxiety when they bump into other perspectives. Cultivating a neutral space benefits from some inward attention, whether it be via meditation or private journaling or simply blocking out time on your calendar that’s entirely for you—permission to go on a walk or take a nap or read a book or enjoy a snack.
It’s during these times that you can cultivate a neutral space for the voices of power, reason, and avoidance to speak up and be heard. Each of these automatic voices, powered by our automatic thinking processes, has a reason for being there, and our goal isn’t to shut them down any more than it is to shut down conversations with other people.
Excerpted from Why Are We Yelling?: The Art of Productive Disagreement by Buster Benson, to be published on November 19th by Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. © 2019 by Buster Benson.