I had a recent experience where someone was absolutely frustrated and angry and hurting. As the nearest person in the area, that anger became directed towards me. At first, I felt my own frustrations rising (just further proof that these negative emotions can be quite contagious).
But realizing that returning the anger would only increase the source of the anger even more, I decided a different tactic. I listened. I replied with good intention. I demonstrated I understood their pain, and their hurt. And despite a bit of pushback, I kept being kind to them.
It worked. Within a few minutes, the anger had subsided and the person was feeling much more calm. They were very appreciative of my response, and I was grateful that I hadn’t just inflamed the situation.
I’m going to keep an eye out for opportunities to combat negative emotions with kindness, and see how well it works in other areas as well. Looking forward to it.