Isn’t it amazing how quick we are to stop being happy because of one small mishap during the day? You get a slightly snarky e-mail from your boss and you’ve suddenly got a gray cloud over your head. Your sister is blabbering on and on about her boy drama and won’t let you get a word in; you hang up aggravated. You’re stuck in traffic on the way home, and you arrive at your destination all kinds of flustered. Sometimes I get frustrated with myself because I realize that I let minuscule events in my day take over and completely shift my mood. When this small event is a positive thing, it’s great. But when I let one minor thing ruin my mood, it’s not. That’s why you’ve got to learn to compartmentalize.
My dad is a pro at compartmentalizing, or not letting one aspect of his life seep into the others. I guess you have to be when you own a business. He may have had the most frustrating day at work, but you’d never know it when he got home. I always wondered how he did it and thought he was some sort of mutant, but I’ve realized that it’s just something that you get better at with practice. When you see your life in different parts (work part, friends part, etc.) then it makes it easier not to let something small from one aspect of your life get you off track when it comes to the other areas. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t spend time thinking about these issues, but you don’t have to let them dominate your entire day.
The other day I was having brunch with two new friends here when we got on this subject. My friend Stephanie explained to me how she is able to compartmentalize and prevent minor annoyances from becoming day ruiners. She explains that when something bad/sad/annoying/stupid happens, she sets a timer for ten minutes. During that span, she allows herself to think any negative thought she may have. Pity parties are totally allowed, and it’s completely okay to feel sorry for yourself. However, when your ten minutes are up, it’s time to snap out of it. No more Negative Nancy, it’s time to get happy and get going. I love this idea, and have to implement it myself the next time I’m letting something stupid get my goat (as they say). When you’re able to compartmentalize, you can then preserve your day and prevent minor drama from getting blown way out of proportion. Thanks to my genius friend Stephanie for this idea.
Would you try something like this in order to ditch your bad mood for good?