Expectation: Blooming tulips, open windows and softball practice on greening grass.
Reality: Single digit mornings, double digit snow shoveling and icy roads.
This week’s unexpected weather has detoured us from our preferred path to warm temps and jolted us wide awake. My social media newsfeed is never more whiny than during a week like this. And then of course, there are friends posting laments as well.
How does the “unexpectedness” of daily life impact us? It depends on the perception we create.
Often unrecognizable, expectations are part of how we organize life. They are embedded so deeply we cannot see them or acknowledge them because we do not notice them until they are dashed. On those days, unexpected events, no matter the size can contribute to our level of stress. An appointment doesn’t go as planned, traffic is slow, a less-than thoughtful comment comes from a colleague – all these can set us on a trajectory of stress.
When things do not go as we’d like, what can we do to set our self down a path of resiliency instead of the road of stress?
- Stop, take a deep breath and recognize your expectation and the situation reality.
- Don’t fight against it. Single digit temps will not change, neither will the person tailgating you by remaining frustrated. Our aggravation only lasts a short time if we can let go and let it pass instead of gripping on to the frustration.
- Hold things lightly. Allow reality to be as it is without trying to resist.
- Choose your perception. What is the story you will tell yourself? Can you choose a perception that is life-giving in the situation?
Our perception can create a lens through which we see the entire day. So, if you are a golf fan, you can now watch the Master’s guilt-free because there are no outside spring chores calling your name. Maybe there is time for one last ski day or coffee with a friend.
Remember: You can shape your experience.