Why Do We Sweat the Small Stuff?
There are times when we sweat the small stuff, and this can get us into trouble. What happens when we do this? We can lose sight of our priorities and what’s truly important. However there are definitely times when we find ourselves worried about things that might not seem that important in the grand scheme of thing. What I’ve learned is that when we sweat the small stuff, we also get a lesson in gratitude. In this blog post, I’ll share with you how I’ve learned to find gratitude in these situations.
First world problems
When we think about the little things that cause us frustration, anger and stress, we will often refer to them as first world problems. While it is true that being frustrated about our cell phones is a (mostly) first world problem, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t cause us stress and cost us our time and money. What I have found is that our lives have become so linked to our smart devices, so when we do have a problem or issue with our phones, it seem as though it’s a big problem that requires all of our attention.
We’ve all been through it, our device is a just over a year old and it doesn’t work as well as it used to. We spend a lot of time and energy fighting with our cell phone provider to find a solution. Often we end up getting sucked into a new plan that costs us more money, in order to upgrade our devices. What I have learned from these situations is the incredible gift of patience and kindness. I know that if I get upset or raise my voice, it’s not going to help the situation, nor will it help me get any close to resolving my issue. This is a tough lesson to apply in a stressful situation, so I use different strategies to help me remember to be kind and patient.
Strategies when we are sweating the small stuff
Take a deep breath. That’s my number one strategy. Sometimes just the act of breathing deeply and pausing can shift a conversation in our favour. Have you ever noticed that if you stay calm and speak using kind words, you’re more likely to get the phone upgrade at no extra cost? My husband is excellent at this. There is no personal emotion when he is trying to save money or get an upgrade. He’s the customer service ninja, so I leave all of my most important cell phone negotiations to him.
A pinch of gratitude. It may seem contrary to be thinking about gratitude during these moments, however I find that gratitude always helps with perspective. Some of you may have heard about the challenges we had when we ordered our king bed online from Wayfair. Not my finest moment when I complained about Wayfair on Facebook (this is not a strategy I recommend). However, after cancelling my online order, I was free to search for another option. I wasn’t too happy about having to start my search again, so I would remind myself to be grateful that at least I had a mattress to sleep on as well as clean sheets.
Allowing for something better to show up
When we are disappointed or upset, we can get stuck thinking that we will never find the solution to our challenge. For me, when I didn’t get the bed I wanted, I was stuck for a while on believing that I would never be able to find a similar bed at a similar price. This caused me a lot of stress – I was sweating the small stuff. Finally I had to let it go. And a few days later, the exact bed we wanted showed up in the Costco Magazine. It was for warehouse only, which meant that it would be in stock and ready to be picked up once it came in. I asked about the price and when it would be in stock, turned out to be $40 less than the one I had ordered online and it would be in stock within 2 weeks. Thanks to a wonderful friend with a truck, I finally had a new bed in our home. My husband set it up and 2 days before my birthday (6 weeks after our original bed was supposed to arrive) I got to sleep in my new bed! Turns out it’s a lot nicer than the one we had ordered online. I’m now super grateful that we didn’t end up with the other bed.
How else can gratitude help us?
Let’s talk about the weather for a moment. Since moving to B.C., I’ve found that the rainy weather is a HUGE topic of conversation. And I’m asked at least once a day if the rain is affecting me yet. Having lived most of the winters of my life in Eastern Canada, I am grateful every day that the rain is not snow. I’m grateful that the temperature has been above 0°C every day since we arrived in early December. And I’m grateful for the green grass. Do I like getting wet every time I step out of the house? No, however I bought some rain pants and boots to keep myself a bit drier when I walk our dog. Every time I open the garage door for our car, I am grateful that I don’t have to get out in the rain. I am using gratitude to keep myself happy and healthy during this very rainy winter season. So far, it’s working well.
What strategies do you use when you sweat the small stuff? How do you avoid this? I’d love to hear about what you’re doing to manage every day frustrations.