“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Your day has been terrible so far. “Why me?!” you think, swearing or almost half in tears as you reflect on everything that’s gone awry since this morning.
No, it’s not death or a life-changing event that has gotten you all worked up. It’s the everyday petty things. It’s the hitting your head on the open kitchen cabinet (and feeling fury at every appliance or door for the next 20 minutes). It’s the traffic jam when you’re already late, the non-stop barking neighbor’s dog, the rude cashier at the market, the dishes not being done when you arrive home.
But we can’t deny it – the little annoyances add up quickly. Soon enough you find yourself spazzing, eye-rolling and deep-sighing at every little moment of each day. You’re waiting for a break but stuck in this too-familiar, unhealthy norm (yikes).
Eventually your irritating weekdays may seep into your “relaxed” so-called-fun times with those you love. You’re at your final straw – on the verge of burnout, depression or something even more drastic if this continues.
That’s why there’s no better time to practice some “Ahimsa” (the Sanskrit word for non-violence, non-harming compassion). This does not mean literal killing, rather it’s the inner hurt and shame we put on ourselves and then onto others. When we’re annoyed, it often comes from a place of feeling distress and lack of self-control. So how do we break the cycle?
Start with these 6 tips to alleviate annoyances and get back to your calmer, centered self once again.
- Make Self-Care a Priority
If you aren’t taking care of your basic needs and happiness, everything falls apart (especially your patience level). If you’re overworked, lacking sleep, eating poorly and stuck indoors all day it’s no wonder you’re on edge all the time. This is a wake-up call to add balance and TLC back into your daily/weekly routines. Let go of certain projects, make healthy meals to eat M-F or commit to a weekly activity or group that invigorates you (from boxing, yoga, a book club to anything else that interests you). Respect your time – schedule downtime and don’t say “yes” to everything. Write a gratitude list once a day and take note how you feel regularly.
- Meditate Every Morning
Morning meditation makes for a grounded and peaceful start to your day. This can be an online guided versions, peaceful music or even just the silence and sound of your breath inhaling and exhaling. Regardless, meditation is about releasing the busy monkey mind and priming it to feel relaxed instead and ready for whatever the day brings. Visualize yourself at your happiest, where nothing and nobody could bring you down. With regular time and practice you’ll find yourself less “short” with others and able to release irritation more easily when it arises. Soon you’ll be able to rise and shine (not whine) more often than not!
- Kick Complaining to the Curb
Everyone needs to release their frustration to some extent. But this time allow yourself only a 5-10 minute vent session with one sincere loved one. Then pretend it’s over because ruminating (Can you believe this passive-aggressive email my coworker sent me?!) is only hurting you, not anyone else. Set up a 30-day No Complaints challenge for yourself. Even if you break it a few times, you’ll get better at keeping the promise in time. Make note to surround yourself with positive people (not the constant complainers or ones who gravitate towards gossiping). You’ll eventually feel the stress slowly but surely release from your stiff body. Ahh.
- Kill it with Kindness
When you focus on the negative, you see everything through that dark lens. Remember: how you feel inside reflects outwards in your attitude and actions. So, try to grin and bear the annoyance even if it feels forced for now. Stuck in a fast food drive line for a ridiculously long time? Smile and act like the 10-minute wait for a coffee and burger was no biggie (or pay for the person behind you)! Someone cuts you off (quite closely) on the freeway? Let it go, it’s over, and counteract by being the bigger person by letting cars ease into your lane. No matter what is irking you, know that you always have power to re-shift your thoughts.
- Find Small Ways to Snap Out of It
If you get stuck in irritation mode, figure out a quick calming fix. If someone at home is driving you “crazy,” walk outside and take a stroll (or two) around the block. If you’re someone who gets angry on the road, set up a podcast before heading out so you can tune in rather than dwell on a traffic jam. If you’re someone who likes comic relief, go call a friend who cracks you up or watch a YouTube video of your favorite comedian. Just like little thing can set you off, small solutions like these can reset your frame of mind for the better.
- Figure Out the BIGGER Issue That’s Plaguing You
If you’re feeling far from your healthiest, happiest self right now; there may be something bigger beneath the daily annoyances. Is there something significant happening in your family, relationships or work? Do you feel anxious or scared about a certain area of your life? You may have a medical condition (or depression) you may not even be aware of. Find a mentor or two you trust, and don’t be afraid to seek out professional therapy to find out what the trigger is. This way you’ll find constructive coping strategies to get back on track.
We may never completely rid ourselves of what annoys us. We can (and do) however, have the power to stop, drop and release the tension and irked mindset that arises. Feel free to share your pet peeves (and coping strategies) with us in the comments!