During these stressful times, it's important to not sweat the small stuff.

There is a phrase in parenting that states, “Choose Your Battles Wisely.” Surely there will be times in life when it is essential to fight for things you believe in. The problem is many people spend their lives fighting over relatively unimportant things that come up daily. This not only causes stress and tension, but it also alienates people around you.

To handle the daily stresses, reduce anger and resentment and improve how you deal with everyday interactions here are nine proven solutions:

·    Don’t take it personally or personalize it – Rudeness, slow service, and recklessness are everyday occurrences. Many people operate this way without knowing any better. Don’t make a mistake by thinking they have something against you.

·         Can I do anything about the situation? – You must realize that there are many things you cannot control. For example, if it rains or traffic is backed up, your anger will accomplish nothing. The serenity prayer states it best, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change; courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

·         Question yourself – Ask yourself these questions when you start to feel angry or resentful; “Is it important?”, “Is my anger appropriate to the situation?” “Is the situation modifiable?” “Is it worth taking action?” “Does it matter?”

·         Weigh alternatives and consider options – Ask yourself what the possibilities in handling each situation are.

·         Look at the flip side – When anger starts to come on, focus on the positive. For example, if traffic is backed up, realize that you can listen to a book on tape or a motivational seminar. Or if you get a dent in your new car, recognize at least you were not hurt.

·         Maintain a daily hostility log – Write down the angry feelings you have, aggressive actions you have taken (name-calling, honking horns, road rage, threats made, etc.) and your negative thoughts. Being aware of your actions is the first step in creating a lasting change.

·         Try proven ways to manage your anger – Back off, count to ten, go for a walk, don’t confront someone when you are angry

·         Put it in writing – Write out what you are angry about. Putting it down on paper puts a different perspective on everything.

·         Cost-benefit – Ask yourself, “Is this anger going to get me anywhere?” Many times it is good just to LET IT GO

Follow these guidelines regularly and you will have less stress, tension, and will enjoy life to the fullest.
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