I think this might be the start of a new occasional series on here (much like the construction stuff) but I’m not sure about the name yet. Stay tuned and we’ll see. Basically it’s content that aims to make us think about our way of being in the world. Not because I’m an expert on it but because sometimes I need it too! The idea is that we can take better care of ourselves by thinking about how we exist in the world a little bit more deeply.
Today we’re going to think more deeply about all those little things that happen that can negatively effect our mood for the day. We’re looking to do some work to identify those things that happen all the time that might set us off, think about how we’re going to react to them and decide how to handle them going forward. One could make the case that life is more complicated, busier and more crowded than it ever was before so there is more of these things stacking up in a day. But… on the other hand the things might change but people back to the beginning of time delt with this stuff maybe it’s time we just start to do a better job.
I’ve noticed that people always seem to have a list of complaints and ways they’ve been wronged available and ready. Plus they get pretty worked up about it, myself included. It’s stressful to view the world that way all the time and its stressful for the people around you. I started thinking about this stuff at the height of the lockdowns this winter. We were deemed to be essential workers (in construction) so that meant that we could continue with the big renovation we were doing and building supply centers were open. So I was out in the world quite a bit as a work shopper and for our family. That meant I spent 3 months standing in lines in the snow and the wind to buy stuff that wasn’t even for me while COVID was canceling our honey moon. That wasn’t awesome. Add to that everyone in those days was testy and I could buy garage floor paint but not the tea I love to drink every night. That didn’t seem fair at the time and almost everyday something little was ruining my day and my mood. That is still happening for lots of people out there so hopefully the timing of this finds you well.
I got to thinking this is just normal now and since I was routinely running into people I knew doing the same thing as me in those lines I wasn’t alone in this. How could I let these little things roll off me more and have at least an average mood for the rest of the day. Then I started seeing that sort of behavior and thinking in lots of other people too. During the pandemic and before and after as well. I realized how crappy this was making me feel and how wide spread the problem really is. But you know what just thinking about it made it less of a problem for me and it might for you too. Maybe there is someone in your life that really needs this post. So let’s go on a thinking journey together shall we!
Some part of everyday is $hitty
If you want to get upset or let yourself get upset you will find something to do that for you every single day. Rather than thinking terrible things are always happening to you realize that these things are actually just a part of life. These are just some examples I came up with but the list is virtually endless. It might be different for you but this should get you thinking at least:
- You might burn your food or forget your lunch
- Someone might act like an a$$ in traffic
- Something you were aiming to buy is out of stock
- The internet or phone bill goes up again
- Crappy coworkers or a boss
- Your kids make a mess
- Your first outfit is mysteriously dirty
- Someone unimportant makes a snide remark
- Your running shoes develop a hole at half the milage they should
- You have to spend money on something you don’t want and didn’t plan for
- You get less sleep than you were expecting or sleep through your alarm
A good first step it to just take notice going forward is to just notice the things in your day to day that get your blood pressure up and start to mentally catelouge them. You might also find it helpful to take notice of this sort of things in others and decide how being around it makes you feel. Do you want to make others feel like that?
You’re not easy to be around if you do
It’s not to say you can’t react to things or you have to turn into some sort of robot because is makes it harder for someone else. However, if we are honest with ourselves we already know that being in a crappy mood or being around someone else in that state super sucks. It’s okay to let something ruin your mood, it’s okay to react poorly to a situation and it’s okay to have a bad behavior day every once and a while. We’re only human after all. It’s normal to make a comment if three people in a row ignore a stop sign and your right of way while you just sit there for example and more than a few people will get really upset and scream or swear about that. Think about how a passenger in that car with you feels in the moment and after to the two different reactions.
So how do you not push down all your emotions all day long, react appropriately too all the little crappy things that happen but keep yourself calm and not unsettle people around you? There are a couple of options all made easier by first realizing that most events are pretty normal everyday things that really could happen any day of the week. Acknowledging that really helps you stay calm and keep your reaction reasonable. Sure make a comment and complain in the moment but since it’s a normal thing that’s always going to happen just give it this one moment and move on. See the humor in it if your can. If something is a regular, mundane and in no real way extraordinary and especially if it’s unpleasant you don’t need to deal with it ever again. Leave it in that moment and let it go. If you’re retelling your day are these petty annoyances even worth remembering? I would argue that they are not.
People’s behavior is more about them than you
That doesn’t mean what you think it does in most cases though. Making a heartless comment or even a rude one does sometimes reflect poorly on them not you. Most of the time it’s even less $hitty than that though. They might be having a moment like a fight with their partner, financial stress or a health scare that you don’t even know about. You might inadvertently barely brush up against a topic they are hypersensitive too. None of those things are your fault and you don’t deserve it but it’s pretty easy to see how that might happen. Personally I often talk too much and just to fill the space and that means even though my stupid comment percentage stays the same I put my foot in my mouth more often.
We’ve all had the experience where we say something and immediately regret it. Or your reaction tells us we should. Even though I often make it a point to say sorry later and confront that awkwardness I usually can’t get it done in the moment. I also think it’s pretty uncommon that most people ever do. They might be laying awake that night regretting their comment but you might never get to know that. People don’t mean to say something mean or over react to something you say. Sure it’s nice if they apologize but even if they don’t they’re probably sorry.
Actually you control your mood
This obviously isn’t universally true. Some people don’t control their mood (at least in the short term) because of certain mental health issues. We all gotta make space in the world for that. However, if you have an ongoing issue that’s making you angry on the daily it’s still under your control to seek treatment and help to fix that in the medium to long term. Really when you let anything effect your mood you are giving it more power than you have over yourself. There are situations and people where it is going to happen like a car accident or a fight with your partner. Even then you have the choice how deeply it effects you and for how long. Most people don’t want to think that the things that irritate them most are more powerful than they are. But… if you let them drag down your mood that’s exactly what you’re doing.
One strategy that I’ve found helpful is to literally decide how long you are going to let something effect your mood. Last week three cars in a row just rolled on through a 4 way stop right in front of me. So I made a comment and that was it. If someone makes a kinda $hitty comment with out bad intentions but crappy none the less, well maybe 5 minutes is fine. Sometimes in partner relationships you just have a junky day. It happens right? Sometimes it’s no one’s fault, sometimes it’s everyone’s fault. At the end of the day I’ll just say something like “Sorry we had a crappy couple day, but tomorrow’s a new day.” I think that goes a long way to letting go and having a good day after that. So notice how long you usually let the little stuff get to you and then decide what’s more reasonable time frame to move on. Seriously give it a shot!
Do you let too many little things ruin your day? What’s the number one thing that gets you riled up that really shouldn’t? We all have one! Leave it in the comments below!