Or “How To Get Through a Frustrating Situation Without Slapping Anyone”
Men are using a concrete drill in the space below my office. Actually, the space right below my desk. This unwelcome surprise has been deafening for about three hours now. I finally took a deep breath, went down there and sweetly asked “How much longer will this be?” The incredibly nice man in charge said, “Maybe about two hours, but if you need us to be quiet, we can use chisels instead.” I said I’d just take my laptop and work remotely. His kind offer surprised me.
So now I’m sitting peacefully in my favorite hangout cafe, mooching their internet in return for the price of a glass of iced tea and half a croissant. And I’m thinking about…ANGER & ANNOYANCE. There are days when all of us are pressured, pressurized, annoyed with life, overwhelmed, irritable, thwarted, frustrated or just extremely busy. I didn’t want to take time to reorganize my whole day to accommodate men with drills. Are there times when you just can’t cope with one more hassle?
Or is it that we don’t choose to do so?
Or that our over-reaction to a trifle is really just a SYMPTOM of a larger matter?
When our own lives aren’t going the way we wish, the temptation is strong to over-react (with anger, sadness or fear) to relatively unimportant stimuli in our environments. A therapist once told me “The way you know you have an unresolved issue is when you have a Level Ten reaction to a Level Two stimulus.” It’s not pretty, but it happens.
THREE STEPS TO STAYING REASONABLE AND CALM:
If I’m STILL feeling put out by what’s happening, I consciously remind myself to stay in the Present Moment. (Easier said than done, I know!) If I can’t fix it or change it, how can I adapt in a healthy way? What alternatives do I have to make this as pleasant as possible? My choice in this instance was to come to the coffee shop. It’s not ideal for work, but it’s acceptable and was the best of my available options. A famous motivational speaker talks about returning two dozen phone calls from his Jacuzzi – that makes it a lot more fun.
When we are coping with Significant Life Issues – grief, loss, divorce, fear – it’s even easier to “take it out” on the people and circumstances around us.
You probably already do some or all of these self-soothing things, too, to keep yourself from doing or saying things that won’t get you where you want to go, but a reminder never hurts.
When I got back to the office two hours later, not only were they still working (and said “Just two more hours” again) but their truck was parked in my space. Testing ourselves with the question “How flexible can I be?” makes it into a game and diffuses the stress.
Would you like a copy of Wendy Keller’s FREE ebook
“The Top Ten Tips to Coping with Crisis”?