Staying Calm and Upbeat (Despite Life’s Frustrations)

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

You need to slam on the breaks when a driver cuts you off on the highway.

You are waiting in line to check out and another customer cuts ahead of you to ask the store clerk a question.

You arrive on time for your meeting but many of your team arrive late.

What do you do in each of these situations? If you are like most of us, you become frustrated, irritated and aggravated, and that emotion stays with you, affecting your entire day.

When your day is negatively impacted by an event you can’t control, remind yourself that you are in control of your own emotions.

The way to handle life’s challenges – whether big or small – is to develop your personal mindfulness process to increase your inner strength, calm, happiness and resilience. As you develop and use these mindfulness habits, you’ll find you start responding instead of reacting. You’ll become unaffected by impatient drivers, inconsiderate shoppers, late employees or other events that used to frustrate you.

Here are some suggestions to get you started.

  • Take a breath. Anytime the world seems to be climbing on the frustration meter, take a deep breath. Breathe in to a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, release your breath to a count of four. Do this a couple of times to regain composure or to keep perspective.
  • Go for humor. Read a humorous post or cartoon, or watch a funny video to change your energy. Humor can be an effective tool to distract you from frustrations.
  • Yoga, meditation and quiet time. September is National Yoga Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to explore yoga or other meditation techniques. These were previously considered new age, yet today, most successful people have included yoga and meditation in their daily process. By practicing it regularly, you will become inherently better at finding your inner strength, keeping things in perspective and handling life’s challenges with grace and positivity. Consider seeking out a yoga studio or buying a mindfulness audio program.

Notice all of these mindfulness techniques require commitment and intention on your part – you own your response and what you need to do to become more resilient.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. The next time you get frustrated, take a deep breath. How do you feel?
  2. What is one thing you can do today to be more mindful of a response vs. a reaction?
  3. What could your daily mindfulness process include to help you develop your inner resilience to life’s challenges, whether big or small?

The more you build your internal calm, the less the world will frustrate you and the happier, saner and more successful you will be.


Read more about increasing mindfulness in Tune Out to Tune In

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