While this subject is probably nothing new to a lot of folks, it’s interesting that as I go through my day, I find that there are SO many various influences, pressures, and personal interactions I experience that negatively affect my internal peace and joy. Now, sometimes how we react to these things can often help us create a more positive and optimistic life’s outlook, but it’s the ones that I don’t have control over that seem to annoy me the most. This annoyance I feel however isn’t at the provocation itself, it’s my reaction to them. That I’ve allowed some ridiculously inane thing to affect me or make me feel a certain negative way and permitting some extraneous, very often stupid stimulus to create in me a disruptive, or unsettling emotion. And permitting is a good word because “I” let it happen. At my age, I should know better…but sometimes it just gets the best of me. To be honest, I’ve gotten much better at my reactions over the years, but sometimes, I find my peace and joy disturbed and that to me is way worse than the actual thing that helped put me there in the first place.
In previous posts, I’ve written about negative societal influences and my general dislike of social media (and doomscrolling), TV, the news, politics, etc. and involving myself in any other unpleasant things that I have control over. It’s the things that come from completely out of nowhere that I find I must work on and keep from robbing and stealing my peace and joy. I’ve found that very often, something negative can happen and it’ll hit me and affect me to a place where I’ll have trouble concentrating on my work, correctly finishing a project, or even enjoying myself if I’m in a place of relaxation. I’ve found that it also affects my speech and critical thinking skills…and this is probably what upsets me the most. That I’ve allowed some negative external stimulus so weirdly benign to create in me some type of effect that produces the consequences I’ve described. I know that I’m not alone in this as I’ve seen it happen to other people and I think “Wow, that (insert issue here) really shook them to the core”. On any given day, these things could come at you in the form of unfriendly or dismissive co-workers, rude people or circumstances while commuting, work project disruptions, making mistakes that could have been avoided, or a myriad of other troublesome little annoyances. And, sometimes, they build up.
What occurs physically when the body experiences annoyance (or anger), is that our adrenal glands flood the body with stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Our brains send blood away from the gut and towards our muscles in preparation for physical exertion. It raises our blood pressure and respiration, causes the body temperature to rise and can increase the “fight or flight” syndrome. It’s known that external stressors that cause “annoyances” in folks who are easily affected by them can cause a constant flood of these stress chemicals that can create serious metabolic changes in the body. People who are constantly triggered could begin to experience chronic headaches, insomnia, increased anxiety and depression, high blood pressure, skin problems and when stress is constant, it can cause heart issues, heart attacks and stroke. Stress left unchecked can kill you.
As I continue to get older and (hopefully) much wiser, I’m beginning to find that external annoyances aren’t affecting me as much as they once did. I just don’t care anymore. At this age, my personal peace and joy are probably two of the most important things I possess, outside of my cherished loved ones. After all, remaining in a state of physical and mental disarray and stress is just not good for the mind, body, OR spirit.
So, what have I done to decrease and diminish these negative effects on my life? I’ve chosen to merely walk away. It’s as simple as that. I’ve found that walking away (either physically or mentally) gives me so much enjoyment. I know that might sound easy in practice, but believe me, it’s sometimes difficult to do. At one point in my life, I would love and very often welcome unfriendly or even hostile interactions during my day…I felt it kept me “on my toes”. Not anymore. I’ve found that it wears me out, and probably because of the physical effects previously described. But the more time that passes, allowing the external stimulus, whatever it might be, to wallow in its own misery gives me more pleasure than interacting with it in any way, shape, or form. I very often even find myself smiling as I take my walk. It’s incredibly freeing and liberating. I’m not disturbed, I’m not annoyed, I’m not upset and I’m not angry. And, gloriously, my body isn’t in that state of tenseness and anxiety.
My personal peace and joy are just too important. I want to move through my day with relative ease, exuding kindness, and consideration to others when and where I can, navigating away from conflict and enjoying whatever I’m doing…just being present. This is one of the most mentally and physically important things I can do for myself.
And, after reading this, I hope you can too…