How to Calm Down When You Feel Like Blowing Up

How to calm down when you feel like blowing upIf you asked people that know me to describe my personality, it’s likely that the words, chill, easy-going, and calm would come into play. But what people who haven’t known me for many years don’t realize is that I wasn’t always so zen. When I was younger, I was prone to big fights with my parents, dramatic tantrums because I couldn’t find the right outfit, and had a healthy bit of road rage.

You’d never guess it from how little my temper flares now.

Sure, long lines at the store, and people walking slow up the subway stairs get on my nerves. But the number of times I actually get mad enough to blow up? They are few and far between.

When I am stuck in a crowd, or about to snap at someone for something silly, I try to remember to ask myself these 5 questions.

  1. Will yelling about this make anything about this situation better 10 minutes from now?
  2. Was it really this person’s intention to make me feel hurt/offended/angry/upset?
  3. Or is there something going on in her day that might make her a little more concerned with herself than with how she’s making other people feel?
  4. Is it ACTUALLY the slow delivery guy that’s made me so upset, or is something else going on that’s making me a little more on edge?
  5. So I’m going to get there an hour later. Is a 60 minute difference worth having a big fight?

Sometimes a well-placed stern-talking-to can make a world of difference, and I definitely don’t advise sweeping major problems under the rug.

But in that moment when I’m about to flip out, thinking about the other person usually helps to calm me down. Generally, everyone is doing the best that they can, “and best can vary a lot from person to person every day.” And everything isn’t about you – people have their own *ish going on. You might just be a casualty of their bad day. Taking the actions of others with a grain of salt can really help.

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

 

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The Death of the RSVP

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Sure we all have a lot going on, but when did flakiness become the rule (instead of the exception)?

These are all actual responses to a get together I planned to host – in my home, that required real supplies, and actual food/drinks (not just a seamless delivery or meetup at a bar).

“I think so!”

“Can I let you know? I think I have a dinner that night so I’m not sure yet.”

….no response….

“Ah sounds so fun and I think I should be free. Would love to join and can confirm tomorrow!”

“I’m not sure, but keep me in the loop.”

 “I plan on coming…”

And the subtext was…

…if I plan ahead and go to the gym before work (but I probably won’t).

…if work isn’t too crazy.

…if nothing better comes up.

…if I don’t decide I’d rather watch Netflix by myself.

I can read between the lines. It’s like everyone liked the idea of getting together, but no one wanted to actually commit until they knew definitively there wasn’t a more appealing plan.

Or maybe they wanted to just wishy washy enough that when they decided to bail at the last minute, I, as the hostess, wouldn’t be surprised.

Then, the day before – when any good party planner has already made the bulk of the preparations for the get together (read: spent money on booze and food) – the cancellations started to roll on in.

“Sorry to be a total flake, but something came up I need to see about.”

“Sorry to be lame, I have a tinder date… I don’t want to be alone forever lolz!”

“I feel like death. I’m trying to rest up so I can be well for this weekend!”

“I don’t think I can make it. I got a big week at work!!!”

And the sad thing is – I expected them. It has become so common for people to cancel on plans via a quick text with little to no notice, it wasn’t a shock.

But it was a disappointment, because no matter how much you expect it, when you’ve made preparations for having company, it’s a bummer when they pull out. Luckily for my not-attending guests, it’s hard to hear frustration through a text message. And even though your guest is doing the rude thing, the polite way to respond isn’t to say…

“What happened to making plans, and then scheduling other things around it?”

“Tinder dates can happen any damn day of the week – except the one you already had a thing.”

“How late are you really working homey?”

It’s to say…

“No worries! Let’s get together soon!”

“Have fun! Maybe he’s the one!!”

“Ugh work is the worst, but at least I’ll see you this weekend instead!”

It’s to let your guest off the hook, and smooth things over, when what you really want to do is tell your friends that they’re the absolute worst.

Now, sometimes, it’s true. Things do come up after you’ve already made plans – and being sick is a legitimate excuse, but this isn’t that. It’s an epidemic of refusing to say you’re going to do something, then actually do it.

Of course we all occasionally skip the birthday party you said you’d go to because you’re tired out and need a night on the couch, and you know that 10 other people will be there at there at the bar with cake and candles. Bailing happens.

Yet lately, it seems like a weird bystander effect – you know, the one that makes no one call the cops when they witness a crime because just think someone else is going to do it – but socially. Everyone thinks that someone else will be there. Someone else won’t bail. In big groups of friends, it’s easy to get away with. Except what if, what if one time no one actually shows up?

Or it’s the constant connectedness. There was a time when if you were having a birthday party, you had to mail invitations. Then to respond, you had to pick up the phone and talk to a person – or at least leave a recorded voice message saying if you’d make it. Now, invites happen by group text, by facebook invitation, or evite. It’s a lot easier to ignore the RSVP when there’s no personal contact involved – or to write a quick message cancelling with lots of emojis and exclamation points that seem to capture how disappointed you are to miss it. There’s no disappointed tone of voice. No frown to see.

Or maybe it’s invitation fatigue. There are so many things to do all the time, we get tired, panic, and don’t respond to any of them. Or we genuinely want to go, say we will, then feel overwhelmed and bail. But here’s an idea – what if, we just commit to the things we can realistically do and then use google calendar to remind ourselves?

In many ways, it’s actually easier to remember what we have to do than it was in yesteryear. We have iPhone alerts, and google calendars that sync across devices. There’s no more writing it on one calendar, but not seeing it when you’re at work and it’s at home.

There is uber and lyft so we don’t have to worry about a designated driver (at least in metropolitan areas).

There are services that will deliver us gifts within two days, wrapped if we please. I can even order a card online and have someone else write it and mail it for me. Still I find myself constantly frustrated by flakiness and refusal to commit.

Wouldn’t we all be a lot happier if we just decided to do what we want (and stick to it)?Can you relate?

And until everyone gets their ish together, at least there is this guide to getting people to ACTUALLY show up.

Image by Pexels.

How to Be Happy: 26 Strategies Backed by Research

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

Aristotle said that over 2,000 years ago. And for most of us, it holds still true today. The ultimate goal in life is to be happy. And for good reason. Besides feeling great, happiness provides additional benefits including greater health, increased longevity, better relationships, more fulfilling marriages, increased productivity at work, improved creativity, and so on.

The good news is that happiness isn’t a mystery anymore. Research has uncovered many activities that have now been scientifically proven to make people happier. These activities are listed in the following infographic by NJlifehacks, which is titled ‘How to Be Happy: 26 Strategies Backed by Research’.

According to the infographic, happiness is as simple as exercising regularly, spending quality time with family and friends, experiencing flow on a regular basis, or doing random acts of kindness. To find out more, check out the infographic below:

How-to-be-happy-infographic

Can Money Buy Happiness?

Can money buy happiness?The rote answer – or old adage – is, “No.” Wealth does not equal bliss.

After a certain point, that is. Anyone who has tried to do without much of it knows that money is important. It gives you access to the things you need to survive (read: food, clothes, heat), and freedom to escape bad situations (read: health problems, an abusive partner, a job you hate).

Having it may not automatically guarantee a joy-filled existence, but not having it can certainly make your life difficult. Indeed, broadly speaking, people who have money are happier than those who struggle to get by.

But it’s not quite so simple as this. Obviously money must have some perks, or we wouldn’t work such long hours to get it every day. Yet, as Dan Gilbert, professor at Harvard and author of Stumbling on Happiness says, “Once you get basic human needs met, a lot more money doesn’t make a lot more happiness.” For several reasons:

  • Humans are adaptable. That promotion that seems life-changing when you receive it quickly becomes the new normal.
  • More money can bring more stress – in the form of extra responsibility or a longer commute to your fancy home.
  • There is always someone richer than you, and that comparison is a happiness killer.

So how much is enough? The magic yearly income seems to be $75,000 on average, after which emotional well-being improvements drop off. Though it varies by major metropolitan area. Residents of NYC, Philadelphia, LA, and Seattle hit peak happiness at $105,000, while people in the windy city reach it at $54,000. If you’re lucky enough to live in Atlanta, you can reach that goal at $42,000.

If you’ve already attained it (or that’s far from a realistic goal for you), here’s how to make the most of what you’ve got.

  • Buy experiences instead of things. The pleasure of a day trip is much longer lasting than a new top, which quickly becomes an old, unloved top clogging up your closet.
  • Get off the hedonic treadmill. Instead of buying new things, stop adapting to what you have. Learn to appreciate your things anew by swapping pictures on a wall, or depriving yourself of a possession for a certain period.
  • Give it away. Even a small amount donated to a cause you value can lift spirits.
  • Spend it on making your life easier. Outsource tasks you hate – like mowing the lawn – to someone else, and the windfall time you save can boost your happiness.

Now, don’t you feel better already?

Image by Burst.

 

22 Ways Cats Make People Happier (And Healthier)!

This guest post (and amazing infographic) was written by Emily of Catological. Pop over and check it out!

If you’re like me (or any human on the planet, really), you’ve probably had some negative thoughts creep into your mind about why things are going poorly, or why someone was mean to you, or why you aren’t living the life you always dreamed of yet.

Negativity can creep into even the sunniest minds, darkening your day like an overbearing cloud.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have something to fall back on when you’re in a mood like this? Something that you could count on to make you feel better?

Well, I don’t know how to tell this to you, but something like this already exists.

Cats!

Yes, seriously. Cats are insanely good at solving our problems, and have been scientifically proven to make our lives happier and healthier.

From helping us recover from negative moods, to relieving stress, cats can turn our frowns upside down. Plus, you get the added benefit of lower chances of heart disease and other horrible health-related maladies.

We started looking for some information to back up these findings, and stumbled across more and more reasons why cats are actually super healthy for you physically and emotionally.

At the end of the day, we came away with 22 ways cats help make us happier and healthier, all of which you can see in the infographic below, or by visiting the original post here, where we include sources and a bit more explanation for each point.

So, want to make things less crappy? Get a cat!

Ways Cats Make Humans Happier

I Hate Me Some [Fill in the Blank]

verbal fadEvery now and again there’s a verbal fad that really grates on my nerves (see butthurt).

Everything “AF”? I love that enthusiasm. All the feels for “low-key ____”? Sure. It’s fun.

But lately, everyone is saying and posting, “Love me some [fill in the blank].” And it drives me nuts.

It adds SO many unnecessary words, when you could just be saying, “I love puppies.” Or marshmallows. Or whatever strikes your fancy.

It co-opts a dialect from the South and Appalachian, where most of the people I see using it just.aren’t.from. Which, just sounds odd when it’s not a person’s typical way of speaking.

I didn’t want to blame Toni Braxton, and her 1997 hit I Love Me Some Him because, let’s be honest, anyone listening to Toni should be playing Unbreak My Heart or Let It Flow.

And then.

I found this article, that credits Toni as the original snowclone creator. The Waiting to Exhale Soundtrack will never be the same for me again.

What do you think? Do you say, “Love me some ……”?

Image by Prawny.

How to Get Your Way with Customer Service

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As anyone who has worked in the service industry will tell you, you aren’t going to get anywhere by being mean to your sales person/bartender/customer service/airline representative. There are things they can do to help you – when they’re on your side – but when you turn them against you, consider your ship sunk. Nothing will make them get the kitchen to rush your food, or shift things around to fit you on that flight. Even though any good customer service representative will tell you they are doing everything in their power, if you yelled at them, they’re probably not.

With this as my rule of thumb, I’ve managed to get my food and get out the door when the kitchen is slammed, return pairs of boots that are over a year old, and get upgraded to first class on “sold-out” flights. Here’s how.

Use a friendly tone. If you’re really pissed, they will hear it in your voice, even on the phone. Take a few deep breathes, force a smile on your face, and then talk.

Be on the same team. Start by empathizing with the person who needs to help you. If bad weather threw your travel plans off course, I lead in with, “I know you’ve had a million people calling you, trying to change their flights.”

Make your case. Have a logical reason why you need the change you’re asking for. Will your friend be stranded at your destination because the rental car is in your name? Are you going to miss the wedding if you don’t get there sooner? Customer service representatives are people too. Try to pull on their heart strings a little bit.

But keep it short. They don’t need a 20 minute sob story. Summarize your spiel in a couple sentences.

Come with a plan. If you’re looking to be rebooked on a flight, research the options that are available online. Give them the flight number you want. Tell them you see that seats are available online. Ask them to give you one of those. If you’re trying to make a long-shot return, make sure you have your receipt ready, and the item you’d like for an exchange in hand. If you give them a solution, they’re much more likely to just go ahead and use it to get you out of their hair.

Be persistent. Offer to fly into or out of a different airport. In bigger cities, there are often options in another close location. Ask the same question, multiple times. If they say, “I can’t upgrade you to first class.” You say, “Other airlines have done this for me in the same situation.” If they say, “There is no connecting flight.” You say, “Can you look into other options out of that city on your partner airlines?” If they say, “There are no flights.” Hang up, call back, and try again. Sometimes just getting a new, more empathetic person will be enough to get your way.

Use a little humor. Joke that your friends are so hangry you’re worried for your safety. People are more willing to help you when you make them laugh.

Say thank you. Say it early, and often. Tell them you really appreciate them trying. You’re thankful they’re investigating other options. They are making your life by helping you out. If you’re already expressing gratitude before the job is done, they feel more obligated to give you a good outcome.

Say it again. Then, when they’ve finally caved and given you your way, thank them again and get outta there fast before they can change their minds!

Image by Petras Gagilas.