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Pity: Party of One

August 10, 2017

 

Stuff happens; to all of us. It's how we respond to these irritating and sometimes tragic events that shape how we are able to respond to any future situation, positive or negative.

 

Every event in life comes with a level of severity. Even the death of someone you know has a scale of impact. For instance, if your mother passes away, this likely has a much bigger impact on you than if a 3rd cousin you've only met once will.

 

Your car not starting when you are on your way to a big job interview is likely more impactful than if it didn't start on the way to Bingo.

 

When it comes to dealing with life's irritations, it's important to put them in perspective of your severity scale. I like to use a scale of 10; 10 being the most emotionally severe and impactful, 1 being the least.

 

When you have this mental scale, and you are being mindful, you can assess the event you are experiencing and consciously choose an appropriate level of emotion. Perhaps the grocery bag boy putting the milk in with the bread isn't worth fretting over.

 

I live in an apartment complex with many wonderful and diverse people. This is how I've chosen to experience it. Before becoming mindful of my emotions and thoughts, my upstaris neighbors drove me up the wall. For some reason, they open and close their sliding door dozens of times in the course of an evening. I don't know what they are doing or why. This used to irritate me to the point of getting angry and not being able to enjoy dinner or watching television. 

 

When I started evaluating my response in comparison to my severity scale, I realized that if I made a game of it, I could turn it into something fun. I started calling it Door Bowling and started keeping score. Most nights, they can complete an entire game! I decide based on the volume of the door slam whether it is a strike, spare or gutter ball. Their average score is 218.

 

Another fun neighbor has a car whose alarm goes off at least 5 times a day. Whenever we hear it, my kids and I now get up an dod the "Alarm Dance". We have very specific moves for each of the alarm sounds and we have become quite good! We get a little exercise and a big laugh! One day recently, we were all in separate areas of the house and when the alarm went off, all four of us came running out to do the dance! 

 

The point I'm trying to make is that when you have big events happen in your life, it is easy to let all the little events pile up and bring you down. If you keep life's small irritations in pespective, you'll find it much easier to stay in a place of gratitude and happiness. It will also help you deal more effectively with those bigger events by allowing you to experience the tragedy without heaping the extra baggage of irritation build-up to color it.

 

When we allow small annoyances build up, the resulting mood can color everything else we experience; even the positive things! You'll find that mindfully keeping small irritations at bay or eliminating them altogether through turning them into something fun, lets you stay in a more constatn state of happiness and bliss.

 

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