You’ve probably experienced this before:
You’re having a good morning and feeling great about life. Then someone cuts you off in traffic, and suddenly your day is ruined. Or maybe you see something on social media that makes you angry, and now your good mood is gone. Or perhaps a disagreement with a friend or family member spoils your entire day.
As much as we try to control our reactions to the people and events in our lives, it’s often difficult not to let them affect us.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent other people from ruining your day. Here are five tips:
Don’t Take Things Personally
It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that everything someone does is a personal attack on you.
But the truth is, most people are so wrapped up in their own lives that they’re not even thinking about you.
So when someone does something that bothers you, remember that it’s not necessarily about you. This can be a difficult mindset to adopt, but it can be very freeing.
There’s a common mistake that many people make when trying to set boundaries. They try to impose their boundaries on others and then get angry or upset when those boundaries are not respected.
But the key to setting effective boundaries is to set them for yourself.
You won’t be able to control anyone else’s behavior, but you can control your own.
Decide what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not. Know what you are willing to tolerate and what lines you will not cross.
And then stick to those boundaries, even if it means saying no or walking away from a situation.
Understand the Fundamental Attribution Error
The fundamental attribution error is the tendency to attribute other people’s behavior to their character while attributing our own behavior to situational factors.
For example, when someone cuts you off in traffic, you might think they’re a jerk. But if you cut someone off in traffic, you would probably say it was because you were in a hurry.
When they do, it’s because that’s who they are. When I do it, it’s because of the situation I was in.
The fundamental attribution error leads to a lot of misunderstanding and conflict in our lives.
By understanding this tendency, you can avoid falling into the trap of making assumptions about other people’s motives.
Don’t be so quick to cast hatred toward them—you don’t know what’s going on in their lives. They are just reacting to their own circumstances, just as you are reacting to yours.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and accepting things as they are.
This can be a helpful tool for dealing with difficult people and situations, as well as the anxiety and stress that comes with them.
When you’re mindful, you’re not as easily thrown off balance by the things that happen around you. You’re able to see them for what they are and respond more constructively.
A simple way to practice mindfulness is to concentrate on your breath—it’s always there with you to serve as a point of focus. Bring your attention inside your body, noticing how it feels in this moment.
These quick moments of self-observation can be surprisingly transformative. This practice can also help you find more happiness and satisfaction in your life overall, making you more resilient to the inevitable challenges that come your way.