From everyday rudeness to outright prejudice, as frustrating as these things are, we cannot let our experience of them trigger us to the point that we lose ourselves by how we respond.
You probably hear people explain away bad behavior all the time with the “They triggered me” excuse. You get the sense that they truly believe they had no control over their response. And we see videos of midair meltdowns where people resort to physical violence and probably wonder why those people couldn’t control their behavior.
If I were you, I would use these news stories as teachable moments for ourselves. For example, I’ve thought of how I would respond if someone were to call me the N-word. I’ve wondered whether I would give in to anger and how much I might let that anger control me. If I was feeling bad about myself or under a lot of stress, do I have it in me to push a bigot from a moving train?
I think about such things and I think we should all be asking ourselves what’s the thing that could push us over the edge.
We can train ourselves to think critically and act emotionally intelligent under stressful situations by learning how to deal with everyday rudeness and bad behavior better.
Here is what I mean.
From traffic to poor weather, letting everyday inconveniences cause you stress is just poor self-regulation.
One of the most important life lessons I learned was this: sometimes, getting lost can be a good thing! I learned this on a rainy day while I was on vacation with my then-husband. We had made all these sightseeing plans that the rain made impossible to enjoy so we found a pub to wait out the rain. Some five hours later, and probably hours after the rain had stopped, we were still in the pub because we had made friends with three locals. I’ve also taken the wrong exit on a highway and found a home goods store that would become one of my favorites.
Do this: The next time you’re lost or inconvenienced by nature or something outside your control, roll with it. Who knows what you might find? Something else that you can do is to give yourself enough time to get to your destination. When you have some time cushion, everyday inconveniences will stress you less.
Dwelling on the negative
The ruminating mind likes to dwell because it thinks that’s helping. A good way to break the habit is to give yourself limits for how long you dwell on certain things. Milk expires and so should complaints.
Do this: Start a gratitude practice. And at the end of your day as you’re giving thanks, include that negative experience that you might still be working yourself up about. Consider what the experience migh