HEALTHY LIVING
01/31/2013 01:07 am ET | Updated Jan 31, 2013

How To Remain Calm When You Don't Want To

By Sam Ferrigno for HooplaHa.com

Often, when we have an outburst, no one thing is solely responsible. It’s a culmination of things that get us going bit by bit until some lady who bumps into us in line for coffee gets a face full of obscenities because she just happened to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s awkward because now she’s covered in sugar and you’re holding an empty jar, the lid ripped off, the rest of the sugar scattered between the two of you. As everyone stares with their mouths agape, you think, this might have been an over-reaction.

You’re right! It was!

I’m here to help by putting things into perspective. My own father told me that he forbade me from getting a driver’s license when I was 16, not because he was worried about people crashing into me. He was worried about them. “You have a temper, Sam, and I was afraid someone might get maimed if you drove before you were ready.”

He helped me realize that when someone speeds in front of you, just barely missing your car by an inch, perhaps that guy’s in a hurry. He could be…

  • late for an interview
  • missing the birth of his first child
  • in dire need of the bathroom

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It’s never worth getting worked up over one guy cutting you off. Do yourself a favor and don’t let another driver’s stress become yours. You’ll still get to where you’re going despite his bad driving. Spend your energy on paying attention, not on some jerk.

You hold the door for someone who doesn’t so much as give you a nod.

Yes, it’s rude, but fortunately you’re only holding the door open for her, not asking for her hand in marriage. There’s a chance you’re never going to see this stranger again. In any case, you’re gesture isn’t any less kind because it was ignored -- it might just be that it wasn’t noticed. It happens, and it’s not worth raising a stink over.

Someone is determined to talk your ear right off your head.

Often when someone you don’t know talks your ear off is because they like your company, and may not have much of anyone else’s. You will feel horrible for blowing up at someone who just wanted a friend to talk to. Even if this person has loads of friends, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t long for validation. The fact that this person is seeking said validation from you, the least you can do is be polite and let them share. No speech lasts forever.

The guy or girl you’ve had a crush on says “No.”

Before you stomp off to the refrigerator and choke down a tub of frosting, consider this: Not everyone is going to like you, and that isn’t anyone’s fault. You can’t talk someone into loving you any more than you can talk yourself into loving anyone. Love is a matter of grace, it’s something you feel or you don’t. Respect, on the other hand, is not; you’ve got to earn it. Stay respectable and gracefully accept the decline.

Someone next to you is chewing like a caffeinated barn animal.

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Though you might be on the verge from vomiting, both literally and verbally, try to hold it in. You can always just walk away. Unless that person is a relative or very close friend, you don’t want to reprimand him for having table manners like a hill person. You are not responsible for everyone’s etiquette. Take relief in that.

You're late.

When someone counts on you to show up, being on time matters. It doesn’t matter so much that you should drive 100mph down the road to get there. First of all, it’s not going to make that much of a difference if you drive 30 miles over the speed limit. Though, in a blind rage we might not realize we’ve stomped the gas pedal through the bottom of the car. When you feel the rage spiraling inside, remember this: whoever is expecting you would much rather see you survive the ride there than get in an accident on the way.

The most important thing I can leave you with is that all chaos is a choice. We can’t control how we feel, but we can decide how to act on our feelings.

For more tips on stressing less, click here.

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