How to deal with small annoyances

Some people seem to float through life without ever letting so much as a frown darken their brow. No matter what happens, there is always a smile ready to burst out on their face, laughter, kind words optimism and goodwill. These people can be an enigma – they’re not usually the ones with the ‘best’ jobs, or the most money. In fact, their situation can often seem quite precarious to others – perhaps they struggle to make ends meet, care for sick relatives, or are suffering from some chronic malady themselves. Yet they always seem to be in a good mood.

There are, perhaps more people, in the developed world, at least, who struggle to crack a smile more than a couple of times per month. These people look serious and stern. They can often be heard sighing loudly, or cursing under their breath. They resent others’ success, yet belittle those they perceive to have less success. They often take on responsibilities in their work – not because they are passionate about their work, rather because they are motivated by the promise of financial reward. Such people covet material possessions and symbols of wealth – the big car, large house, expensive watch, which serve to remind everyone of their continued ‘success’.

The second type of person may not know it, but their attitude to work, life, wealth and other people, actually jeopardizes their own health and wellbeing. By constantly carrying around stress and worry, by pushing themselves further and faster, they begin to wear themselves out. They become physically and mentally tired. Their bodies begin to succumb to infections – colds, influenza, headaches and so on. They may turn to painkillers or alcohol to try to take the edge off of the malaise. They become less tolerant of others – especially those who think differently from themselves.

If you go to a large city, you’ll find you are surrounded by such people. The pressures of urban life and work can utterly crush people’s spirits and turn them into unfeeling, uncaring, combative automatons. See how they almost explode with rage at the traffic light switching to red as they approach. Watch as they bully and intimidate junior employees at work. Listen as they verbally denigrate groups of people who are unlike themselves, in thought, appearance, background and lifestyle. These people are often unware of how their behavior is eating away at them until it’s too late. Suddenly, one day, the nightmare doesn’t show up to work. Everyone’s quite pleased about it, too. They might be off work for months, having suffered what used to be called a ‘breakdown’. Unable to cope with the stress of living their particular lifestyle, and feeling trapped, they end up losing everything they were striving for – they can no longer work and may lose their house, car, their friends and even their marriage.

It is clear that such an attitude behavior is ultimately self-destructive. If you see this in yourself, it’s likely that it is already holding you back. You don’t need to wait until you crash to be able to identify the negative effects it can be having on your life. It may be holding you back from promotion and enjoying fulfilling relationships with those around you.

Contrary to what some might say, you don’t need to sacrifice your goals in order to develop a healthier mental attitude. It is important to have hopes and ambitions. The key is to keep them in context. If you have so far been motivated by the thought of having expensive and showy possessions, ask yourself why that may be. Do you want to impress others? Do you think other people will truly respect you for the car you drive? Even if you do think that, is it worth ruining your personality and health for it? If you readjust your goals to focus on what is ultimately important to you in your life, you’ll be able to pursue your dreams without worrying about small annoyances.

If you find yourself arguing with your partner over trivial issues, just swallow your pride and focus on building a constructive relationship. If you can’t contain your rage as the garage door fails to open yet again, simply let it out one last time before switching on your laptop and arranging to get a new one from