Don’t sweat the small stuff, and most things are small stuff.
When it comes to stress, it’s often the little things in life that cause the most stress. Little things like waiting in line at the supermarket, getting stuck in traffic jams, or being put on hold for the third time can really irritate, even infuriate some people.
Yet those same people might handle the big issues quite well. They lose their house in a flood, their job is eliminated, or their spouse dies, and somehow they get through it with grace and dignity.
It doesn’t seem to make sense. In fact it’s crazy to let the little things stress you out. So what should you do? Learn to keep things in perspective.
My learning on perspective came twenty years ago. I had just left the funeral of a two-year old child and went into the parking lot to get my car which wouldn’t start. It was late; it was dark; I was in a bad neighborhood, and everyone else had left. Of course I called AAA to come and start my car.
Due to a number of circumstances, AAA couldn’t get there for a couple of hours. The AAA mechanic was very helpful and extremely apologetic about the delay. I was calm; I was okay with the entire ordeal, but the mechanic wondered why I wasn’t upset.
I’ll never forget the answer that came to me and has stuck with me all these years. I thought how dare I be upset with a car that wouldn’t start or a two-hour wait when I just came from the funeral of a two-year old. Put in perspective, my situation was nothing more than a minor inconvenience. It meant nothing.
I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I’ve used that picture. Every time I think about it, my stress level goes down. I simply refuse to let the little things stress me out. I ask myself how important those little things will be in a week, in a year, or in the light of eternity. Of course, most of the time, those little things won’t matter at all, and so my stress goes away.
Action: The next time you’re getting stressed out over a little thing, ask yourself “How important will this inconvenience be five years from now?”