1. Get comfortable with pausing.
Don’t imagine the worst when you encounter a little drama. When someone is acting irrationally, don’t join them by rushing to make a negative judgment call. Instead, pause. Take a deep breath…
Sometimes good people behave poorly under stress. Don’t you? When you pause, it gives you space to collect your thoughts and it also allows the other person the space to take a deep breath with you. In most cases, that extra time and space is all we need.
2. Respect people’s differences.
Learn to respect the opinions of others. Just because someone does it differently doesn’t make it wrong. There are many roads to what’s right in this world. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
So choose your battles wisely. And just agree to disagree sometimes.
It is absolutely possible to connect with, and even appreciate the company of, someone you don’t completely agree with. When you make a commitment to remain neutral on matters that don’t matter that much, or speak respectfully about your disagreements, both parties can remain calm and move forward, pleasantly.
3. Be compassionate.
In the busyness of today’s world people tend to be worried, fearful, hurting and distracted about everything. The word compassion means “to suffer with.” When you can put yourself in the other person’s shoes, you give them the space to regroup, without putting any extra pressure on them.
Remember, we never know what’s really going on in someone’s life. When you interact with others in stressful environments, set an intention to be supportive by leaving the expectations, judgments and demands at the door.
4. Extend generosity and grace.
Everyone gets upset and loses their temper sometimes. Remind yourself that we are all more alike than we are different. When you catch yourself passing judgment, add “just like me sometimes” to the end of a sentence. For example:
That person is grouchy, just like me sometimes.
He is so darn impatient, just like me sometimes.
She is being rude, just like me sometimes.
Choose to let things GO. Let others off the hook. Take the high road today.
5. Don’t take people’s behavior personally.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you take everything personally, you will be offended for the rest of your life. And there’s no reason for it. Even when it seems personal, rarely do people do things because of you, they do things because of them. You know this is true. You may not be able control all the things people say and do to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Make that decision for yourself today.
Let it go! Seriously, there is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you detach from other people’s beliefs and behaviors. The way people treat you is their problem, how you react is yours.
Everyone behaves the way they behave based on how they feel inside. Some people never learn how to effectively cope with their stressful emotions. When someone is acting obnoxious, it’s vital that you remain calm, no matter what. Don’t allow other people to knock you off your center.
Do what it takes to remain calm and address the situation from the inside out. That’s where your greatest power lies.
6. Talk less and learn to appreciate silence.
Don’t fall into an unnecessary argument just because you feel uncomfortable in silence. Don’t say things you’ll regret five minutes later just to fill your eardrums with noise. Anger and frustration begins internally. You have the capacity to choose your response to momentary discomfort.
Inhale. Exhale. A moment of silence in a moment of anger, can save you from a hundred moments of regret. Truth be told, you are often most powerful and influential in an argument when you are most silent. Others never expect silence. They expect yelling, drama, defensiveness, offensiveness, and lots of back and forth. They expect to leap into the ring and fight. They are ready to defend themselves with sly remarks cocked and loaded. But your mindful silence? That can really disarm them.
7. Create a morning ritual that starts your day off right.
Don’t rush into your day by checking your phone or email. Don’t put yourself it a stressful state of mind that’s incapable of dealing positively with other people’s negativity. Create time and space for a morning ritual that’s focused and peaceful.
Here’s part of my morning ritual: I take ten deep breaths before getting out of bed, I stand up and stretch, and then do ten minutes of meditation.
8. Cope using healthy choices and alternatives.
When we face stressful situations, we often calm or soothe ourselves with unhealthy choices—drinking alcohol, eating sugary snacks, smoking, etc. It’s easy to respond to anger with anger and unhealthy distractions.
Notice how you cope with stress. Replace bad coping habits with healthy coping habits. Take a walk in a green space. Make a cup of tea and sit quietly with your thoughts. Listen to some pleasant music. Write in your journal. Talk it out with a close friend. Healthy coping habits make happy people.
9. Remind yourself of what’s right, and create more of it in the world.
Keeping “the positive” in mind helps you move beyond the negativity around you.
At the end of the day, reflect on your small daily wins and all the little things that are going well. Count three small events on your fingers that happened during the day that you’re undoubtedly grateful for. For example:
My family and I made it home safely from work and school today.
My spouse and I shared a laugh.
Our meals filled our stomachs.
And pay it forward when you get a chance too. Let your positivity empower you to think kindly of others, speak kindly to others, and do kind things for others. Kindness always makes a difference. Create the outcomes others might be grateful for at the end of their day. Be a bigger part of what’s right in this world.