Take a chill pill: how to be cool as a cucumber
There are a lot of people I am surrounded by in my life that have made me start to realise that I am not the extremely impatient person I thought I was…because they are worse! I’m not perfect. I still can’t stand to stand in waiting lines for too long and if you cause me to run late I will more than likely blow a fuse. But when it comes to the little things I am, for the most part, cool as a cucumber.
When I started noticing the difference in reactions over little supposedly frustrating things I thought it was just that I worked with some highly strung people, but as I became aware of it, I realised it was in most people I know. It isnt always the same thing that annoys people either – that damn backseat driver telling you to slow down, the database system at work not loading as fast as you require it to, stupid people doing or saying stupid things that waste your time or simply someone not following your instructions – grrrr!!
I am not saying that these things do not annoy me too but I have noticed I seem to have more patience to not let these things bother me nearly as much as they do others. The problem is that allowing these little things frustrate you to the max, your fuse will grow shorter and shorter and your energy levels will be zapped on something that wouldn’t even be a significant part of your day if you did not choose to focus on it.
It is all about perspective. If you choose to or allow yourself to get really frustrated at every minute thing that happens in your day then you are well on your way to high blood pressure and a bad mood that will no doubt be dished out in the form of yelling to those you don’t necessarily deserve it but somehow what they had to do or say was just the last thing to tip you over the stressed cliff edge.
There is an empisode of How I Met Your Mother where Barney calls it the chain of screaming. For the sake of a hypothetical: I get so frustrated with someone annoying that I had to deal with so I take it out on my boyfriend who then gets so frustrated that he takes it out on his mum, who takes it out on his sister, who takes it out on her boyfriend, who takes it out on an IT person at work who can’t fix the problem and so it goes on.
Your frustrations at the little things are even worse in small office teams and open plan environments as everyone is acutely aware when you curse loudly at the computer screen or complain loudly about the frustrating problem you just had to deal with over the phone/email/in person. Your agitations actually can affect those around you to feel negative as well, which is something to keep in mind.
The only way to prevent this and to avoid the dangers of bad excess stress is to take a chill pill and allow the little things to lose their power. Let them lose their significance in your day. Stop tearing your hair out and cursing loudly and choose, instead, to focus on the good and the positive – that way there will be no chain of screaming and your workplace will be a much calmer place to be. And you will be a much calmer person to be around. And you will have more energy to focus on getting things done that you need to instead of wasting it on the negative and annoying. Everybody wins.
Here are a few tried and tested handy hints to initiate a chillaxed reaction to stressful occurances:
There will always be things that can get very frustrating for you and it is best to be aware of when these things are most likely to occur. Is it driving to work, when people cut you off in traffic or is it when the system you use at work crashes when you need a sense of urgency? Being aware of these things as they occur and what it is about them that bothers you so much will allow you to alter your reaction to them.
What is really worth your time and energy and focus? If you limit what can have an affect on you then chances are those frustrating little things that really get to you will lose their significance. They can only take up your time and energy and focus if you let them.
Each time something comes along that really gets you buzzing with madness and ready to start a swaering frustrated rant to the person next to you – just let it go. Little fustrating things that stress you out can hardly be important to them so simply let them and the negativity surrounding them go.
Save your energy
Your energy and focus get taken in a million different directions everyday, so much so that barely any of us feel like we accomplished everything that we wanted to in a day. Keeping this in mind, save all your energy for the thigns you really do want to accomplish. An angry rant about how frustrating something is, isn’t going to advance you or your life in any way so save your energy for the tasks that really need you.
Ignorance is Bliss
Ignoring something isn’t always easy but every action from your body is directly caused by a decision you made to act, feel or do things in a certain way. If you ignore the annoying thing/person/problem it won’t go away but it also means that it can’t bother you either. Sometimes ignoring something frustrating for long enough to make a cup of tea – you may find it doesn’t fustrate you nearly as much.
Breathing deeply is always the number one way to calm your body and mind as quickly as possible. Before you curse loudly after hanging up from what may have been the most stressful conversation of your year – take some deep breaths and keep breathing in 2-3-4, out 2-3-4 until the first word out of your mouth isn’t a swear word or an “are you kidding me?”