This morning I woke up and it was raining, letting in that dreary perfect-for-sleeping-in light into my windows. Of course, I took advantage, and snoozed my alarm for 30 minutes.
I got up, showered, made myself an omelet while watching an episode of Friends. I got ready, left for work. There was no traffic, which surprised me because of the rain. A couple hours later, I left work for lunch. I met two of my girlfriends and had a really pleasant time.
On my way back to work from lunch, I missed my exit and got seriously lost on the freeway. I had to go through five tolls to navigate my way back to work. I didn’t have any cash or change on me though, because I hadn’t planned on going through any tolls. At almost every toll, the ‘full service’ worker rolled their eyes at me as they grabbed a clipboard and walked out of their stand to write down my license plate number to give me a ticket.
“If you’re going to go through tolls why don’t you bring money with you??” One exasperated worker asked me. Look lady, I thought, seething, this isn’t fun for me either.
As I was pulling out of my final toll, a woman in a large SUV rudely cut me off. A friend called 3 minutes later to cancel the plans we’d made to go out of town for the weekend.
I pulled into my parking garage and parked, breathing deep. I just have to get to my desk, I thought as I got out of my car and headed for the street. As soon as I opened the exit door to the garage, the rain started pouring… much harder than it had all morning.
I didn’t have an umbrella with me, and I’d left my rain jacket at home. Taking another deep breath, I thought about my options. I could wait it out or make a run for it- I was only a block away from where I worked, so I decided to suck it up and go for it.
I walked into the rain and after about twenty feet was promptly soaked. Wet hair clinging to my back, I saw an awning and ran to stand under it. As I was running, I slipped in my sandals and broke the strap.
While waiting for the rain to ease up a little, now balancing on one leg, my phone started ringing- it was my boyfriend. I answered by saying, “the past twenty minutes of my life have been terrible,” and went on to tell him why. After I was finished he laughed and said, “but if you knew you were going to go through all those tolls, why didn’t you bring any money?!”
I did not laugh. I seethed more than I was already seething. Realizing his error, he quickly added, “I was kidding, I was kidding!” I promptly hung up and started crying.
Don’t I sound like an incredibly rational person? Usually I take pride in being someone that doesn’t let little things affect her, but when so many things go wrong in such a short period of time, it’s hard to not succumb to the frustration.
When I finally made it into work, dried off my hair with paper towels in the bathroom and sat down at my desk to write, I started thinking of everyone else that has moments like this. Moments where things seem so infuriating that you don’t know what else to do but maybe throw whatever’s closest to you at a wall, cry and wish you had a glass (bottle) of wine with you.
So, rather than do those things (except the wine, I encourage that) I thought I would do some de-stressing research to help others not let a bad 20-30 minutes ruin your entire day, mood and potentially do lasting harm to your relationships if you unintentionally lash out.
Try these 6 tips the next time you feel like you're going to explode with frustration.
1. Call your best friend. Or text. Or e-mail. This is a rapid stress reducer. She (or he) will more than likely cheer you up and not judge you for your moment of craziness. This also allows you to get the frustration out of you in a healthy way. Writing everything out is especially helpful, because you’re able to go back and read what upset you and reflect that some of them, while yes, incredibly annoying at the time, might be a bit silly now. Once you vent everything out, move on and don’t dwell on what happened.
2. Ignore your first instinct to express your anger/frustrations. Whether it’s your co-worker, boss, partner, friend or family member, lashing out when you’re upset is never the answer. Feelings will be hurt unnecessarily, you’ll regret what you said and it might create a bigger problem than the one that originally made you upset.
3. Walk away whenever possible. In my case, a single person didn’t necessarily make me upset, a lot of little things that I had no control over lead to my slight meltdown. So, I metaphorically walked away. I put my phone away, didn’t text or call anyone aside from reaching out to my best friend. If someone in particular has made you upset, walk away and give yourself space for a while. This goes along with the point of number 2, not lashing out.
Don’t walk away in a dramatic huff, just calmly explain that you don’t want to have a conversation you’ll regret and you’ll talk about it when both parties have calmed down. (If you’re upset with someone and they say this to you, respect them and don’t get upset when they ask for space. You might be ready to talk it out and solve the issue, but they might still need time. Give it to them.)
5. Count to ten and visualize a more peaceful scene. For me, this means starting to plan a turn around for my evening. Were you going to go home, make dinner and go to bed? Add a bath into that and some wine. Maybe a little Netflix, or cuddle time with your partner/kids/favorite pet. It’s scientifically proven that hugs boost your mood. While you’re at it, pick up your favorite dessert on the way home from work, or get a massage/pedicure. Treat yo’self. Whatever upset your day doesn’t have to continue doing it, but it’s up to you to create the positive turn around.
6. Exercise! Go on a run and turn your music up, get all your aggression out. Power yoga is another great option when you're upset; calming slow yoga might not cut it. A yoga move to try at home if you can't make it to a class:
The Woodchopper -
Stand with your feet a shoulders distance apart and your knees slightly bent. Put your hands together in a praying motion and straighten them above your head. Imagine you're holding an axe and are about to chop something (your frustrations!) Bring your hands down quickly in front of you, in a chopping motion. Yell out while you do it if you want.
Do this as many times as you need until you feel the aggression has left you. Let your hands return to being stretched out about your head, and breathe deeply with your eyes closed.
Sky Andersen holds down the role of blog writer at Yoga Accessories. Currently studying Public Relations at Virginia Commonwealth University, she is passionate about all things writing, photography, travel and of course- yoga.