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  • Writer's pictureSarah M.

Don't stress the small things

Do you notice that sometimes when you’re blindly going about your day, feeling pretty good, when all the sudden out of nowhere a teeny, tiny, non-important stumbling block comes across your path and stomps on your day?

You know, that simple moment when there’s no milk for your coffee, or when someone cuts you off on the freeway, that fifteen-minute wait at the post office you weren't expecting. Maybe it's someone forgetting to say “thank you” when you hold the door for them, or if someone doesn't do the dishes like they said they would, maybe it's a silly argument on how the toilet paper should hang. That feeling you get when you're starving and you accidentally burnt the toast; frustration, annoyance, irritation, resentment, disappointment. That AAAARRRGGHH!!!

You are not alone.

Confession time: I feel like I’m a pretty positive person and most of my time I’m quite optimistic about everything, but sometimes I can let the little things get the better of me.

If you’ve ever found yourself in the same boat, then I think there’s a good chance these ideas might help you too. Here are a few ways help move on and stop letting the little things bother you.


Believe me, I know this is easier said than done, but I’ve learned that the quickest way to keep something from bothering you is to not complain about it. I know this goes against the popular belief that you should “get things off your chest” but when you complain about something, it magnifies the situation and only really grows because of the given attention.

I know people struggle with this one, because of the lack of understanding how powerful words and thoughts truly are. Experience taught me that complaining is a vicious mindless habit. And in a lot of situations it can almost be like a reflex, which can spread like wide fires, something you do without really thinking about it. It’s a tough habit to break, but honestly mandatory for your sanity.

When you commit to make the effort to stop complaining (even in your thoughts), you will most likely feel better and have a positive affect on other people around you.


In full disclosure, I sometimes have a tendency to read into things a little more than necessary, I can start analyzing situations and they can easily grow into something all in my head.

This can be as simple as, “I’m upset because no one heard me the first time, in a crowded place, at an outdoor rock concert, in the wind and rain” which morphs into “I’m upset because no one cares about my feelings.” When in reality they were caught up in the situation which has nothing to do with what I'm frustrated about.

Regardless of the real reason, the truth is, you can’t control the things that happen to you, but you can control how you react. It might not always feel fair but the less you let things bother you, the happier you will be. (This isn’t to say you should never stick up for yourself but perhaps you should choose your battles, or at least make sure there’s an actual battle to fight.)


Most often getting bothered by little things is a symptom of a bigger problem.

Not addressing the real issues, you end up getting pissed over the huge line in the grocery store, reflecting on the hurt and anger under the surface. Most of the time we don’t notice it but it's there, which why the “little things” bother you so much.

Try to identify what you are feeling; hurt, annoyed, angry? Why do you think you are feeling this way? Going through these thoughts can help get to the bottom of the real issue, the actual underlying feeling of frustration.


When you find yourself getting upset with someone, be it your loved one, colleague or a total stranger, you are struggling with feelings of annoyance, choosing compassion and focusing on their humanity can sometimes help the situation.

Let’s face it, it’s very easy to get annoyed with people, yet it’s never a nice feeling. Sometimes you have a good reason and other times less so, either way, letting go is often the best option and one of the easiest ways to do this is by humanizing your thoughts about the person who has upset you.

What I mean is, try to shift your focus away from whatever upset you and instead, think of what they might be going through, what's the story behind their less than cool behavior.


Now I believe in visualization, I picture things in my mind and in my writings all the time, this doesn't mean that there's no wiggle room for change, in fact I expect there to be a bit of irruption.

But sometimes we have this picture of how we want our day to play out and then life happens; It all starts off with you misplacing your phone which means you're late out the door. In the car you notice you're wearing a shirt with a stain on it and then that ass from the office doesn't even hold the door when he totally saw you coming behind him. Next thing you notice you haven't even opened your inbox, it's 10 am, you're starving and lunch is still hours away.

At this point, it’s really easy to write the day off as a bad day because when you have high hopes for how things should go, it’s disappointing when things don’t play out as planned. The truth is, your expectations are often clouding the reality of the situation. This happens to the best of us.

If you can let go of your expectations and open your mind, you’ll notice that yes, the day is off to a slow start, but it’s far from over. There is still plenty of time to change course and turn things around.

If you find yourself getting frustrated or annoyed over something small, try pausing for a moment and asking if you’re letting your expectations affect the experience.

You will never be completely free from life’s little annoyances, but you can become free from feeling annoyed. - Richard Carlson

Just as life's most challenging experiences can flood the bloodstream with stress hormones, the smallest hassles can take a toll as well, but by slowing down your pace and taking a deep breath, your reactions will be calmer and that small stuff (that can sometimes get under your skin) won’t matter as much.


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