Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Annoyances, Bothers, Hassles and Troubles - NO!

“It’s just an inconvenience.” That is a phrase I taught myself to say long ago, back when little things like being late, forgetting to mail something, staining a blouse, losing a button, or having to start over on something used to get to me. There are lots of little things like these that raise our blood pressure, stress us out and make us angry. Repeating that phrase is helpful and calming.

It can be useful in bigger situations, too. I started reminding myself of the “just an inconvenience” mantra when I ran out of gas, had a flat tire, missed a deadline, lost something valuable and so on. We live in a society that is so go-go that every single thing clutches at our stomachs, unnerves us and contributes to poor health.

How would you like to have a good day every day? One of the greatest compliments I ever got was from an administrator who announced to a roomful of colleagues that I was someone who was always happy and never had a bad day. Actually I did have a bad day once when a doctor told me I had a lump on my breast. Then I realized: this is just an inconvenience. It was inconvenient to schedule more appointments, miss work, drive to a new doctor’s office and so on. In the end the lump disappeared. I’m so glad I didn’t stress out over it along the way.

I divide situations into two categories: 1) life or death; 2) an inconvenience. See? Most bad things (more than 99.9%) are just inconveniences. Try it out for yourself. Which category would you put the following things in? A root canal, a broken nail, a spill on the carpet, a fender bender, a lost wallet, the flu, waiting for the repairman, sitting in heavy traffic, or any other of the myriad nuisances we live with. If nobody dies, it’s just an inconvenience.