How Not to be Easily Unamused

It is good to be easily amused, letting the little things in life put a smile on your face.  However, the little things are not always amusing.  Sometimes they are inconvenient and annoying, or worse.  They can bring your whole mood down in an instant.

Here are some ways to stave off those unamused feelings.


1.  Look at the big picture.

Let’s say you’re running late for an appointment.  Being late might make you feel harried, maybe a little embarrassed.  Taking a step back can help keep this problem in perspective.  For example, you know that everyone runs late on occasion, even the most organized of people.  Certainly the people with whom you have your appointment have also run late from time to time.  They are only human too.  And in the grand scheme of things, as my dad would say, being a little late for an appointment doesn’t matter that much.  Remember that it’s just one piece of your day, not the whole thing.


2.  Let it go

Whether or not you are an ice queen with magical powers, “let it go” is a lesson we can all take to heart.  Let’s say that you go into a restaurant for a meal and your server gets your order wrong, or maybe even acts rudely toward you. You know that you should not respond in kind, but you are annoyed and the idea of snapping back at the server feels satisfying.  But in truth, what would feel better is just to let the annoyance go.  Remember that your server is human, like you.  He or she may just be having a really bad day, and though that’s not an excuse, it’s something that you yourself have gone through before.  Maybe someone before you at the restaurant was rude to the server, and now it’s spiraling on.  Instead of wading into that whirlpool, you can just step back and stay out of it.  Then enjoy the good feeling that comes from not making it worse.


3.  Remind yourself that it could be worse.

So there has been an accident and traffic is bad.  Remember that you are fortunate to not have been in the accident.  Maybe you broke a favorite dish–but you can be thankful for all the time you had to enjoy it.  This is what Pollyanna called the “Glad Game,” in which you try to find something good about every situation in life.  It sounds silly, but it is true that there are more happy things than sad things in the world.


4.  Fix what can be fixed.

Did you mess up something at work?  Act rudely?  Forget to do something?  Apologize.  Try to ensure it doesn’t happen again by changing the way you do things–set a calendar notification for appointments, soothe hurt feelings with an ecard or a cookie.  And don’t forget to forgive those who make mistakes that impact you.


5.  Be easily amused

Counteract your annoyance with some small pick-me-up.  Buy yourself a box of strawberries.  Give $10 to the charity of your choice.  Put on comfy socks.  Watch a favorite movie.  Clean your bathroom.  Whatever it takes to replace the negative feelings with positive ones.  They say you can’t say the word “bubbles” in an angry voice.  Next time the small stuff brings you down, find out if that’s true.

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