We have all heard the saying “don’t sweat the small stuff.” right? I am sure you know that getting stressed over the little things is a significant way to bring unnecessary grief into your life. It’s believed that we can avoid a lot of negative feelings, and even health problems, simply by learning not to let the little things get to us.
I truly believe it so, here are a few things that I try, and I do mean try, to do and hope they also help you not sweat the small stuff!
Focus on the Big Picture
When something small happens that makes you want to get angry, compare the moment’s significance to everything else going on in your own life, and in the world around you. You may have spilled your cake batter on the floor an hour before your guests are due to arrive, but… Are your friends still going to love you and enjoy the evening even if you don’t have a freshly baked cake for them? Probably, so clean up that mess and put your energy somewhere other than berating yourself for this small mistake.
Don’t Forget That We All Make Mistakes
When something threatens to destroy your positive outlook, remember that everyone makes mistakes. Whether it is yourself or someone else who caused the situation that right now, feels like a train wreck, keep in mind that mistakes are a normal part of life and they happen to everyone. Don’t let one bad moment take you by surprise.
It can be hard to forgive someone else when it feels like they have brought you extra work and stress. If someone rear-ends your vehicle or swings their car door open far enough to bang into yours, you may be tempted to lash out at them verbally. However, stop and think about how it would feel if the roles were reversed. I am pretty sure these types of things are not done on purpose, so don’t act and feel as though you have never made a mistake. React with kindness and choose empathy.
Forgiving others, for the most part, is easy. Forgiving ourselves – not so much. There are many moments that we treat ourselves worse than we would ever allow a friend, client or even a stranger to treat us.
When you are having a difficult time forgiving yourself, think of how you would handle a similar mistake made by a team member friend. Stop and think before bullying yourself, and consider seeking professional help if you can’t stop a cascade of negative thoughts every time you fall short of perfection.
A perfect example would be when a team member falls ill, do you tell them to stay home, rest and get better? I am sure you do! Then why do you push yourself to work when you fall ill? If you are anything like me, you would power through and rest after work is done for the day. It wasn’t until after I started seeing a counselor that I realized that I was not able to treat myself with kindness and forgive myself for the littlest of things.
Ask Yourself Will It Matter in Ten Years?
We all have problems, and usually, at that moment, any problem seems big. Perception is not always the truth, though, and it is up to us to put our situation into perspective so that we can adequately deal with whatever comes our way.
When something negative happens in your life, ask yourself if it will matter in ten years. If it won’t, let it go. Heck, I sometimes ask if I will even remember in 10 days! So, if someone gives you the middle finger in traffic, don’t lose your cool, it’s just not worth it. Save your emotions for things that are life-changing and deserve your full attention. Laugh it off and move on.
I guess, in short, when something goes wrong, you have two choices. You can slip into a range of emotions, or let it go. Making the choice not to sweat the small stuff will bring you life-changing happiness, and you will be thankful for your own shift in perspective.
Now, I’d love to hear from you. What are some of the things that you practice and suggest for others to do, to help not sweat the small stuff?