How to Not Sweat the Small Things

As I sat stranded in the Lubbock International Airport, going on 4 hours, I found it appropriate to discuss how and why I should not stress out about the small things. The thing about the small things is, they don’t appear small at all in the time that they occur. For instance, it feels like things are out of place when your phone is lost and nowhere to be found, even after retracing steps and going back to the places you’d been that day. Then you realize that your phone was in your purse all along and you breathe a sigh of relief, but are also upset for the time spent worrying and raising your blood pressure about it.

Similarly, I was stuck in the airport due to a fume issue in the plane that caused an emergency landing. In retrospect, the situation was a serious one but not one that I had control over. The ability to step back and realize that sometimes you have to sit back and wait, being patient with the process. It is the philosophy of trial and error, probably the most common method of gaining practical intelligence that there is. These seemingly big issues can also teach valuable lessons for the future, such as choosing an airline that is supported by more than ten airports, or not buying used electronics off of Facebook.

These trial and errors look different for everyone and present varied challenges, but one of the worst things for your mind and body is to stress out about things that you cannot control and that you can’t do anything about. So, trust the process. Trust that you will learn something important from the experience and that you’ll know better next time, whether that be swearing off all-nighters before exams or finding company in the right people for you.

Another piece to consider, is the way our culture and the media handle conflict large and small. It tends to be portrayed on social media that dropping your ice cream cone is the worst thing that could happen to anyone on a normal day in the developed world. These exaggerations of the small issues has inadvertently taught us to react similarly and we are often in a state of complaint about anything that doesn’t go smoothly. A great way to counteract the difficult emotions and reactions when things go wrong, is to alter your perception of the situation. Change your attitude about what is happening. Ask “what can I learn from this?” instead of “why me?” Breathe deeply. Ask yourself what can be done to remedy the situation. Find things or people to be thankful for in the situation and acknowledge them. It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling about a situation and those feelings are valid but, understanding how to stop yourself from wallowing in those emotions and preventing them from dictating the way you take action will ultimately be more helpful.

Sweating the small things is often a part of our daily lives, but you can choose how you will react to them and how they make you feel in order to keep yourself level and balanced in a very unbalanced world. 


Photo credit: Quick & Dirty Tips LLC and Newsiosity