In everyone’s life there are people and events that tend to annoy us. These annoyances affect the quality of our life. Some have more annoying factors than others, but there are five basic steps you can take to lower the annoyances and maintain an inner peace and happiness.
1. Make sure the locus of control switch is on the right setting. Locus of control is who has control of a situation. Inner locus of control means you control the outcome of an event, and outer locus of control means you have no control. The hard part of this is determining the locus of control correctly. For example, your neighbor has a habit of complaining about your dog barking whenever their dog is outside. They only see your dog as the problem. Instead of standing there and listening to their whining, quietly and calmly inform them that you don’t have time to listen to them harp and walk away. As you do so, smile and compliment yourself for handling it so well. You have just change the operating mode from outer locus of control to inner by not allowing the neighbor to complain to you and walking away. You have also taken control by not escalating the situation by telling the neighbor your dog only does that when they let their dog out at the same time and try and switch the onus back on them. If someone insults you or is just verbally abusive, they are trying to set your control switch to outer. Take what they said and either turn it to self-deprecating humor or a joke and you have taken control back away from them. I had someone once comment that I had gotten a fat gut. I looked at them with a very serious look and said “That isn’t my gut; my pecs (pectoral muscles) are sagging.” An example when the locus of control should be on outer but too many people put it on inner is when the government does something you believe is wrong and it adversely affects you. You have absolutely no control over this event and there isn’t really anything you can do right now to make it better. All you can do is write down what happened and put it on the calendar to take care of next election. Once this is done, smile as you have now really done all you can until such time as you can vote against the people responsible for this situation. My saying for this is “It is better to control your surroundings when you can than it is to be controlled.”
2. Change your perception of your surroundings. As I have said for a long time, “A person’s quality of life is only determined by their perception of their surroundings.” If you walk around believing your life is miserable, it will be. Your life is what was dealt to you and you have to do with it as best you can. If you are doing everything you think possible to make it better, smile and tell yourself you are doing all you can and the rest is out of your hands. Know which part is the inner locus and which is the outer locus. Don’t worry about how others are living, focus on your own life and what you can do to make it better. Deal with the negative things that happen, but always remain focused on the good.
3. The third step to peace and happiness has been mentioned in the other two steps above. That’s right the third step is to smile! You should find things to smile about at least ten times a day. When you are smiling, and I mean really smiling, it’s practically impossible to not have happiness and peace. I like to start everyday by walking into the bathroom as soon as I wake up. After I have turned on the shower, I look at myself in the mirror. What I see is a sleepy, sheet wrinkled face with messed up hair. Sheet wrinkled face is the effect of leaving a perfect impression of the wrinkled sheets or pillow case on the side of the face from sleeping soundly. As I look in the mirror, with a straight face I say “Hey good looking, you are so lucky that the beautiful women of the world cannot see you at this exact moment, because if they could you’d never get any peace from all the molesting that they would do to you.” Then, I proceed to laugh while showering even before I’ve even had my daily cup of coffee. My saying for this is “If others know you can laugh at yourself, they will find no enjoyment in doing it.” If you are able to add laughter in with that, all the better. I have already explained the benefits of laughing in the previous post.
4. The next step to inner peace and happiness is to plan your day; don’t let your day plan you. If you know that you have to be somewhere at 1:00, you know it normally takes 30 minutes to get there, and you know it is going to take you 30 minutes to get ready, don’t start at 12:00, start at 11:40. Life is always trying to screw us up and if you don’t take into consideration that life is not only trying to screw our day up, but it’s also trying to screw up the lives of every other person on earth, chances are if it can screw up two people at once, it is going to do it. If we add a time buffer to account for unexpected calls or disturbances while getting ready and the accident or road construction while we are on our way to our appointment, we won’t get harried. When we get hurried because we don’t want to be late, or something interferes with our normal schedule, our stress levels go up. Increased stress does not create peace and happiness. Also, don’t overcrowd your day. Find a pace that is best for you and keep that pace. Now, if you set your pace too slow, it might very well affect your employment status adversely and that could cause you more stress if you lose your job, but don’t be going non-stop from the time you roll out of bed to the time you fall back into it either. Use another one of my aphorisms “When you find life is passing by too fast, take your foot off the accelerator and coast for a while.”
5. The last step is exercise. Exercising, like laughter releases endorphins that assist the body with coping with the daily stressors of life. You don’t need to look like Mr. or Mrs. Atlas, unless of course you want to, but exercise. Forty five minutes a day of exercising where you are causing your heart rate to increase and then hold during that forty five minutes is extremely beneficial to not only your physical health, but also your mental health. If you cannot fit forty five minutes in at one time, start out with three 15 minute periods spread out through the day until you can arrange your schedule to get that forty five minute self-preservation workout in. You’ll be thanking yourself when the benefits become evident.
So if you start today, by the time the new year gets here in a couple of days, you could be well on your way to not only a year, but a lifetime of peace and happiness.