One of Those Days? How to Deal When Everything Irritates You

“Be proactive not reactive, for an apparently insignificant issue ignored today can spawn tomorrow’s catastrophe.” ~Ken Poirot

Do you ever have one of those mornings where the battle against annoying minutiae begins before you’re even truly awake?

One of those days where you feel the illusion of control fully slipping away. You try to grasp and pull it back, but you really have no control over this day or its outcome, at all.

We dread these types of days, don’t we? The control freak in me gets uncomfortable thinking about it. Even the Meet The Parents movies make me unsettled, because as more and more things go wrong, I just want to cry out, “Stop it already! Stop making bad choices!”

I can’t guarantee that I can help you stop making bad choices, but I can give you tips for handling those days when everything minor breaks, stalls, or gets in your way.

I had a day like this when I was pregnant with my youngest. I never regained my energy back like they say you will in the second trimester. I was tired, achy, and feeling uncomfortably large one morning last spring. Still, being pregnant, with all its discomforts, was the highlight of my day.

It started with an alarm that didn’t go off—well, we didn’t set alarms anymore. My daughter always wakes early, so no need. That day, she took the morning off. No wakeup call from the toddler.

We woke up running late in a panic. Then, as our cats had been doing lately, just for fun, they threw up their breakfast on the kitchen floor.

I looked at the stream of cat vomit and told my husband, “Your turn, I cleaned it up last time.”

He gaped at the floor, and then looked as if he was considering adding his own vomit to the pile. “No. Can’t do it.”

“UHHH!!” I fumed, and thus began a morning squabble, the bane of my existence. I hate fighting in the morning more than cleaning up cat vomit, but I was rattled from waking up quickly, so I just went for it and dove headfirst into a fight.

Fight over, we went our separate ways—he went to work and I stayed at home with our kid.

Later, my first new phone in four years showed up in the mail. Now, if you have ever tried to set up anything with a toddler in tow, you know it’s like trying to build Ikea furniture in a tornado. But I was excited and needed to reset the vibe of the day, so I called to set it up.

A new phone shouldn’t have problems from the start, right? Seems reasonable, but I had to keep explaining to the representative that I was setting up a new phone.

We lost phone connection three times. My toddler needed helping five times. Suddenly both my old phone (that I was talking to the rep on) and my new one wouldn’t work. Confused, I was interrupted by a loud hissing.

I was making split pea soup in the cooker, which I had forgotten. The neglected pot was spewing hot soup goo all over. Meanwhile my sink, countertop, and the stove were full of dishes.

Old-fashioned pressure cookers are unpopular because if you move them quickly, you get burning steam shooting out at you. Most people don’t use old-fashioned pressure cookers because of this—smart people.

There was nowhere to move the pot.

So I had to move the pressure cooker pot in slow motion. I watched in horror as more and more hot goo spilled over the stove, counter, and flowed like a green boiling waterfall onto the floor.

I huffed with frustration and started cleaning up—phone temporarily a backseat issue—while trying to keep my kid away from the literal hot mess.

But I was also proud of myself. I hadn’t taken my frustrations out on anyone. I had carried myself with calm, even though I was boiling over, like the soup pot.

Smiling, I went to place the cleanup towels in the hamper. There, one entire corner of the floor was covered with broken picture frames and glass. I was shocked. And now broken glass? I hadn’t heard anything fall?? What?!

Suddenly, it was all too much. I felt anger and frustration rising inside of me. I had enough! I walked into the room away from my daughter and dad, and gave a little scream—not loud enough to scare anyone, but it was enough to release my steam valve.

I’m guessing you’ve had a day like this before. When one irritating thing after another happened, building major annoyance and frustration, making it hard to keep your cool.

How can we stop getting riled up by everything that goes wrong in a day?

Most of us in the Western world have become very busy and, by default, very reactive. This does not set us up well to handle unexpected annoyances. But there are a few things we can do to prepare for these days in advance, and a number of ways we can cope better so we don’t get epically annoyed with all the irritations happening around us.

A Preventative Plan for Managing Murphy’s-Law-Kinda Days

1. Be mindful of the influences around you.

The people we surround ourselves with and the information we consume affect our overall mood. If you’re constantly bombarded with criticism, judgment, or negativity, you’ll likely be primed to snap at little things.

Are your interactions with others positive and supportive? Is your partner or best friend kind to you? Do you have people around you who have your best interests at heart? Or is getting through every day like walking through a minefield of aggressive, explosive people?

I don’t have expertise in the area of extricating yourself from abusive or trying relationships, but there are plenty of people who do, so if you find yourself being mistreated and traumatized, take action to help yourself today.

If you aren’t surrounded by intentionally harmful people, yet you listen to news that drags you down and spend a lot of time with complainers and energy drainers, you are not protecting your sweet soul from the tarnishing effects of others.

I’m not suggesting that you insulate yourself from every negative thing, but can you minimize that which is optional?

Can you make an effort to consciously choose to surround yourself with people and media who lift you up and make you a better version of yourself?

2. Take good care of yourself so you’re balanced going in.

To thrive even with adversity, you need to take care of the animal that is your human body. This body needs fresh air, water, exercise, rest, and quality food. If you are depriving your body of any of these on a regular basis, it is simply a matter of time until you’re an angry, reactive mess.

Keeping up your good habits of exercising and eating well is essential. The food you put into your body affects your mood. Sugar can give us an energy high, but after it wears off then there’s an energy low, which can leave you feeling worse than before.

An unhealthy diet high in sugar and processed food can contribute to depression. And living a sedentary life is a risk factor is well. Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormone, which can help you keep calm when things go wrong.

If you don’t currently eat well and exercise regularly, a reactive, frustrating day can be a wake up call to start supporting a good foundation of health. Then you can weather these storms better.

3. Find some time during the day to be quiet, meditate, and get calm.

Meditation is like training for your mind. It literally rewires your brain to be calmer and less reactive, and it can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. By taking time on a regular basis to be quiet and contemplate, you can sometimes identify nagging small concerns before they become large concerns.

Spending time in nature can have a similar relaxing effect. Being in nature helps you center yourself and recharge—and there’s even some research to show that a certain bacteria in soil can act as a natural antidepressant.

If you can get out to nature, please do so as soon as possible. It always helps me immensely to get outside.

How to Handle Trying Days When They Happen

1. Ask yourself: Is it the day that is a problem, or is it me?

This is a tough love type of question, but I think it’s essential to pause and ask yourself what’s really going on. When you have a day in which everything and anything annoys you, take time to reflect. Ask yourself if it’s just a rough day, or if your reaction is a sign that something in your life is out of whack.

It might just be a fluke of a day where things are going funky right and left. Or maybe you’ve been letting little things build up, and things are boiling over because there’s something big you need to address that you’re ignoring—dissatisfaction with your work, or a compatibility issue in your relationship, for example.

If there is something big that you’re avoiding, can you face it? Can you find someone who will help you find the courage to address what you need to do—to face what you are afraid of?

2. Release your pent up emotions.

Modern living and working close with others means there are lots of times where we have to filter our words and our reactions to act like a responsible adult. All too often we stuff our feelings down until we’re ready to explode—and often on some innocent bystander who doesn’t deserve our rage.

A healthier approach is to feel and work through our feelings as they arise, and sometimes the best approach is to physically release them from our bodies.

The relief that a good primal scream or pillow punching episode can provide is so incredible (though these things are best done in solitude, so we don’t offload our emotions onto the people around us).

Elevated stress levels can be stored in the body and create muscle tension, and cause many other physical/emotional strain. But if we release the stress, we can fluidly move forward. Exercise can also help with this, since it gets our muscles moving, and our heart pumping—another good reason to get active!

3. Take the pressure off.

On some of my worst bad days, I give myself permission to check out and chill out. I take time to watch funny videos on YouTube or do a calming visualization meditation. It can feel tempting to plow through our to-do list, especially since we often tie our worth to our busyness and productivity. But sometimes you just need a break to regroup.

For example, can you find a few moments when you can sit or lie down? Then you can either relax or fill yourself with something silly and lighthearted. Animal videos, anyone?

4. Lastly, remember that it is okay to have a low day.

Life will ebb and flow. It’s all right for us to feel low, defeated, or sad some days. If you can cultivate a sense of non-attachment and tell yourself, “Well, that was one bad day. Tomorrow will be different,” you can release your feelings about what happened. It isn’t personal.

You can acknowledge that one low day might just be a dip in a life that is largely good overall. If it’s just one annoying day that is bothering you, you’ve likely got a lot still that you can be grateful for. When you can see that you are doing okay, that you have so many things going for you, even in the midst of challenging situations, then you know things are actually going quite well in your life!

Here’s to rolling with the tricky days and relishing in the good ones.

About Rachel Strivelli

Rachel Strivelli is a Happiness and Confidence Expander who can help you step into your own power with confidence and happiness. She regularly emails her subscribers uplifting content that helps them relax and smile. If you want to fall in deep love with your life, visit SoulPioneer.com to download your free guide to Reclaim your Joy.

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Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Care About What Others Think

How much ever of a façade we put up, deep down, all of us want to be liked and appreciated. Whether it’s wanting to experiment with our career or being vocal about our feelings – there are so many instances when we avoid being ourselves because of the fear of judgment.

Ask yourself – is caring about what people think really worth it? Why should we refrain from doing what makes us happy, saying what we want to and being our authentic selves just because there might be a set of people who wouldn’t agree with us?

Life is too short to live trying to please everyone around you and just gets exhausting. Embrace your true self, get rid of your shame and be proud of who you are and your choices.

Next time you find yourself worrying about what others think, let these five reasons help you change your mindset.

Love and Accept Yourself

If only we spent more time improving our relationship with ourselves rather than trying to make others happy, we would be so much calmer and content. Well, don’t worry it’s never too late to start.

When you establish a strong foundation for self-love, people’s differing opinions about your choices cannot perturb you because your confidence speaks a thousand words. You tend to be more secure about your choices and avoid getting swayed by the external noise.

Hence, it’s important to practice self-love and treat yourself with care because if you don’t stand up for yourself, who else will? Become your own best friend. Everyone else is secondary.

You Are Your Best Judge

No one knows you the way you know yourself and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Understand that people will talk, they will judge if they have to but only you know the reasons behind your choices and that’s all that matters.

The people around you are mere spectators. You are the hero of your story and the best judge of your life. They haven’t walked in your shoes and won’t understand where you’re coming from. So, instead of getting influenced, learn to first know what you want and go for it, fearlessly!

Set Boundaries

It’s common to seek support and get advice from others but it’s equally important to know where that advice is coming from. You need to identify a set of people who you can confide in and trust. They are the ones who are your well-wishes, who truly understand you and must be taken seriously. The others are just noise.

You have the right to take care of yourself and establishing clear boundaries helps you look after your mental health. So, don’t feel guilty about cutting out toxic people who add negativity in your life.

You Can’t Please Everyone

It’s impossible to please everyone you meet. No matter how hard you try, there will be those who will pass their judgments or express their unhappiness so why bother?

Pleasing people should never be your prerogative. By thinking people “care”, you are giving yourself too much importance. No one truly cares and most importantly, people forget so don’t take them so seriously.

As long as you are true to yourself, nothing else matters. Live the life you want to live because self-sacrifice is highly overrated.

Everyone Is in The Same Boat

You know the funniest part about all this? Everyone is in the same boat as you. You know how you think everyone is staring at you and judging you when you enter a party, that’s exactly what’s going on in everyone else’s minds too because it’s basic human nature.

Everyone (yes even that person who you think has it all sorted out) is battling their own fears and insecurities, just the way you are. What’s important is being aware of them, overcoming those fears and becoming better versions of ourselves in order to lead a fulfilling life.

Adela Belin is the Head of Digital Marketing at Writers Per Hour. She creates content surrounding marketing with a focus on social media and digital marketing. Feel free to contact Adela on LinkedIn.

Image courtesy of Becca Tapert.

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The post Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Care About What Others Think appeared first on Positively Positive.

The Uneventful Days That Affect Us Forever

“Do human beings ever realize life while they live it—every, every minute?”
Emily, from Our Town by Thornton Wilder

This past weekend I went back to the city where my brother and I had both lived for a while. In fact, I stayed in the small hotel where I saw him for the last time. That visit was a year or so ago, and when we said goodbye that day he was returning to his home in Washington, D.C. and I to Portland.

Ken had an appreciation for good whiskey, but on our last evening together I discovered that he had never heard of bourbon and ginger ale, a very basic and common drink. Following my lead, he had his first one that night at the hotel restaurant where we were staying. Then, the next morning, we had breakfast together in the same restaurant before going our separate ways.

It’s funny how experiences like those seem so trivial at the time.

Imagine writing a story composed of such details: two characters meet in a bar for a drink and talk about nothing terribly important. The next morning they have breakfast together and then fly back home. There’s no plot, no conflict, no life-altering decision to be made. What a boring story!

However, now that one of the characters is gone from the real-life story, this memory pulls at me in a way that is almost overwhelming. I had forgotten all about the bourbon and ginger until I checked into the hotel and walked past the bar. And I had also forgotten that this story, and that experience in general, took place the very last time I saw him.

Walking past the bar, the memory came rushing back and I thought: “How wonderful that was. How much I wish we could do it again.”

In my mind I’ve tried to reconstruct everything we talked about that night over drinks and the next morning’s scrambled eggs. I’ve tried to remember exactly how we said goodbye. Did we say ‘I love you’? We might have—we’re not the type of people who never say such things. But maybe we just said ‘See you later, have a good trip.’ I really don’t know for sure.

I think the moral of the story is that the uneventful days are just as valuable as the ones attached with symbolic meaning.

The moments you share with people you love matter just as much whether you are standing across from them at the altar of marriage, fighting beside them in a war, or just having breakfast together.

If you can learn to appreciate these days and moments as they happen, not just in retrospect, you’ll have discovered one of the best things you can ever do for yourself.

Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness of Pursuit, The $100 Startup, and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people. His new book, Born for This, will help you find the work you were meant to do. Connect with Chris on Twitter, on his blog, or at your choice of worldwide airline lounge.

Image courtesy of Kenan Buhic.

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