Do you ever think about how much you get irritated by little things that happen? Well, if you know how to not let things bother you when they interrupt your day, that’s an awesome superpower.
It’s all too easy to let tiny incidents affect your mood. Some days things just don’t seem to go your way, or everything that happens is slightly wrong.
Luckily, you can train yourself to let things roll off your back without bothering you.
How small annoyances can bother you
First off, let’s talk about what those small annoyances might be. I’m not talking about major injustices like the gender wage gap, but about much smaller issues.
While your pet peeves may be different from your friends, these small annoyances are just things that get in your way.
When something slows you down, when someone misunderstands you, or when you get inconvenienced, those aren’t major life problems.
Do you find that you’re easily annoyed when:
- Someone cuts you off in traffic
- You can’t find the brand of snacks you wanted in the store
- People don’t take you seriously
- Your partner leaves every light on in the house
- The kids wait until the last minute to tell you about their science project
There are a million things that could happen on any given day to throw you off. Basically, when things don’t go according to your plans, it can be very upsetting or frustrating.
While it’s normal to be bothered, here’s why you might want to stop letting things bother you so deeply.
Letting things bother you can have big impacts
You might first think about why this even matters. While these small annoyances might not be big by themselves, they can actually do a lot of damage.
It can cause direct harm to your health
When I think through what it means to let something bother me, the main word that comes to mind is stress. Letting things bother you on a daily basis can add to your stress levels.
Even though a bit of stress can be healthy, long-term or chronic stress can have serious effects on your body. That means that learning how to not let things bother you can be a form of stress prevention and management.
Excessive or long-term stress can cause depression, and lead to weight gain and a less effective immune system.
You can use these stress-relieving hobbies to help you prevent stress from overwhelming you, but another strategy is to stop letting things bother you.
It may lead to poor financial choices
Another negative outcome of letting things bother you is that you might not make the best choices. When you’re under a lot of stress because everything and everyone drives you crazy, you could make poor financial choices.
For example, some of us shop when we’re stressed out. “Retail therapy” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, though.
When you let things bother you, you might not take the time to think through decisions well. No matter how disciplined you are, you can still make unhealthy spending decisions based on feeling stressed and annoyed.
It can harm your relationships
If you tend to panic or get angry over small things that happen, what is that doing to your relationships? You may realize you need to learn how to not let things bother you when your relationships suffer.
Obviously, when things bother you, it’s okay to tell the people in your life about it.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t communicate your expectations to your loved ones. (If you didn’t, how would the dishes ever get done?) But you can’t be annoyed about every single tiny thing all day long.
Letting things bother you can be a huge source of tension in relationships, so it’s important to learn healthy ways of managing.
6 tips for how to not let things bother you
Now you are aware of how problematic small annoyances can be, why not try some tips for how to not let things bother you?
You won’t avoid all inconveniences or get people to stop doing annoying things (sorry)! But you can definitely take charge and improve your stress levels by changing how you respond.
1. Remember what’s in your control
Our first tip for how to stop letting things bother you is to remember what you can control. When you need to get back on track with anything — finances, family, health, career — you must know what’s in your control. You can’t control everything.
Let go of what you don’t control
Recognizing that you’re not in control of everything in the world is a freeing moment. Admit that there are forces outside your realm of control.
You can’t make annoying family members treat you more kindly or make all the stoplights green for your morning commute.
When you’re tempted to blow up in anger (or silently vent in your head) about something, try to think about the big picture. Practice mindfulness, take a deep breath, and remember that you don’t control it all.
If something is happening that you can’t change or stop, see if you can let it go. This can be really tough — of course, you want to manage your life and your future. But you can lower your annoyance level by recognizing that you can’t control it all.
Fix what you can
The other side of this is that you can do quite a few things to make life better. You might not be able to instantly stop being poor, because that’s a complicated thing. But you can make small choices that will make a big impact on your finances.
If there’s someone in your life who constantly causes stress and irritation, try to fix what you can. See whether taking a different approach with that person would help the situation.
Know that you can't control other people's behavior
A lot of conflict in our lives comes from interactions with others, so knowing that you can’t control others’ behavior is helpful.
Whatever the problem is, it does little good to focus on the things you can’t change. You’re better off spending your energy on actions you can take to make life better.
2. Set clear boundaries with others
Here’s another idea for how to not let things bother you. Too often, do you find yourself annoyed because a friend keeps doing the same things to you? You need to set boundaries with the people in your life.
Maybe your friend is always five minutes late for your monthly coffee date and you sit at the table fuming about it. Instead, you could accept that she’s perpetually late and plan to read a good frugal living blog while you wait.
Decide what you will and won't accept
You can help avoid letting things bother you by setting healthy boundaries in friendships and other relationships. It’s not your fault if someone continually bothers you with their behavior, but you must decide what you’ll tolerate.
Boundaries aren’t rules that you set for other people. Rather, they’re a decision you make for yourself about what you will and won't accept. So you can set boundaries by talking to your friends and family about what you need and want.
Setting healthy boundaries might mean not agreeing to split the cost of an expensive weekend trip. It may mean saying that you’ll come to the party, but you won’t drink alcohol. The key is to stay focused on your goals even if others are unsupportive.
Stop sharing your goals with everyone
Here’s something a lot of us have problems with when it comes to boundaries: We overshare. If you’re someone who always shares your biggest life goals with everyone, you’ll likely get hurt.
Something that might bother you would be when you excitedly tell someone about your new business plans, and they just aren’t impressed. They don’t see the point of your business, or they warn you of how hard it is to succeed.
Know that not everyone will be supportive
Setting big goals is admirable and you should not hold back! Be bold and go for your dreams.
But…not everyone in your life will understand or support you in the way you’d like. This can lead to frustration on your part.
A part of good boundaries is knowing who to tell about your biggest hopes, dreams, and goals. You can avoid a lot of disappointment by being discerning in who you share your goals with.
Sara Blakely, the uber-successful founder of Spanx, has said that in the earliest days, she kept her business idea a secret. She knew that her family might (lovingly) try to stop her from taking a risk.
You may want to do the same with your big ideas. Find one or two people you trust completely, but don’t feel you have to share your goals with everyone you know.
How can saying “no” help you to learn how to stop letting things bother you? This is another great strategy that goes along with boundary-setting. When you say no to things, you set a boundary of what you’ll do with your time.
If you can say no to things that aren’t important to you, you might be less likely to let things bother you. Here’s why.
Let’s say your child’s teacher asks you to bake 30 cupcakes for tomorrow’s class party. If you say yes after you’ve already provided snacks for three parties this year, you’re probably resentful.
But if you simply say no right away, you let the task slide to someone else. You don’t have to be responsible for everything, and it’s okay to say no. Instead of silently simmering about the teacher asking you (again) or being annoyed with the other parents, make the choice to say no.
Whatever the situation, saying no can help you avoid letting things bother you. It may be hard to say no, especially if you’re a people-pleaser.
But for your own health, you can say no. You’re setting a boundary and letting go of control.
3. Assume the best about others
Whenever random moments are causing stress throughout your day, you can flip your perspective. Instead of growing angry at people for their mistakes, try to assume the best about them. You might call this giving them the “benefit of the doubt.”
Part of the task of assuming the best means trying to see things from another’s perspective. Empathy is when you have the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Learning how to be non-judgmental is a great strategy for not letting things bother you. Practicing empathy, or seeing things from another’s point of view, means you understand they might be having a tough day.
If someone cuts you off while driving, you may not know why. But it doesn’t do any good to get road rage. Instead, try to assume good things about that person, and imagine that they may be hurrying due to an emergency.
Whatever is bothering you about another person, empathy can diffuse your anger. You’ll start to see the person as being like you, and you’ll have compassionate thoughts about them.
Remember that everyone makes mistakes
Along the same lines as empathy, you can remind yourself that we all make mistakes. I’m not saying you should engage in negative self-talk. But it’s easier to assume the best about others when you remember that you aren’t perfect.
Reminding yourself that you are flawed, just like everyone else, may help you to give more grace. When someone drives you crazy, keep in mind that you probably drive them crazy at times too.
We’re all human, and everyone makes mistakes. People will disappoint you — it’s a guarantee. The next time a friend or family member does something you dislike, try to remember that. You’ll be more forgiving and patient, and it’ll help you keep your own stress down as well.
4. Talk or write about your feelings
Another strategy for how to not let things bother you is to find an outlet to express yourself. Often this happens through talking out loud or writing about how you feel. Expressing your frustrations can surprisingly lower your frustration level.
Journal about what bothers you
A great way to improve mental health and learn how to stop letting things bother you is journaling. Writing in a journal or diary lets you spill out your emotions about what has happened. It’s a means of processing your emotions and your life.
The University of Rochester Medical Center explains that when you journal, it “can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.” When little things in life are bothering you, journaling allows you to manage that stress and anxiety.
Journaling as a form of self-care means writing down your thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental way. It can help to pour out everything that’s bothering you on paper. Somehow, after journaling about something upsetting, the problem often seems to shrink.
Things that bother you won’t go away with a journal. But you may find that you’re able to let things go more quickly, see things from other people's perspectives, and enjoy lower stress levels.
Talk to people you trust
A similar tactic to journaling is simply talking with someone you trust. When learning how to not let things bother you requires that you communicate with other people at times.
The best person to talk with may not always be the person who did the annoying thing. In fact, sometimes in the heat of the moment, the best choice is to walk away and say nothing. But talking with a trusted friend offers similar benefits to journaling.
Talking it out with a good friend can help you gain perspective on your problems. When things bother you, they can remind you of what’s real. You might be tempted to exaggerate a problem, while they can show you that the problem is smaller than you think.
5. Stay focused on gratitude
Our next tip for how to not let things bother you is to return to gratitude. Cultivating a grateful spirit will offer a much-needed perspective on the little things you don’t like in life.
Gratitude can remind you of how lucky you are
First of all, gratitude opens your eyes to what is good and happy in your life. Practicing gratitude helps you to remember all the blessings you have. Keeping a daily gratitude list is one way to accomplish this.
When you’re irritated beyond belief about some inconvenience, it can be hard to be grateful. But most of the time, you’ll find that you have more to be grateful for than to be angry about.
Remember how fortunate you are. Whether you keep a gratitude journal, or you pause to give thanks in your mind at specific times each day, gratitude is a great tool.
Learn to appreciate things in life, instead of being bothered by the little things. Notice things like a cardinal perched outside your windowsill, a spontaneous hug from your teenager, and a great cup of coffee at the start of the day.
Gratitude takes your focus off what bothers you
A practice of gratitude is so useful because it shows you what is positive and helps you to shift your focus. Don’t waste time worrying about the little things.
You can build contentment into your life by taking your focus off the bad moments. Which doesn’t mean you deny that sometimes life can be hard. But usually, dwelling on the negative doesn’t accomplish much other than to make you angrier.
The next time you find yourself reacting in frustration to an unruly child or a rude customer, try gratitude instead. Take a deep breath and think through how lucky you are.
You can improve your mindset around money, family, work, and everything else by cultivating gratitude.
6. Try to see the humor in things
Finally, when nothing seems to help, see if you can find humor in your circumstances. Sometimes you just need to laugh about things that are ridiculous or unfair. Laughter is a great cure for what bothers you.
Humor can improve your mood
This may seem obvious, but allowing yourself to see the humor in your situation can improve your mood. Laughter has health benefits like helping you to relax, improving your immune system, relieving pain, and elevating your mood.
It can be hard to manufacture laughter on cue, but trying to see a humorous side to the annoying situations can help. Laughter can make it easier for you to cope with difficulties.
Just as some of us need a funny quote to help us make good choices, you might need to try laughter when you’d normally be upset.
Find reasons to laugh every day
It’s also a good idea to find ways of laughing more throughout your day. Don’t only aim to find humor in annoying situations, but cultivate humor all the time.
That may mean avoiding heavy subjects in books you read and shows you watch. You might make plans with a friend who always knows how to make you laugh. Whatever you do, enjoy the life you have.
Humor can make problems seem smaller
By turning your perspective to see the humor, you can shrink your problems (at least in your mind). Recognize that there’s often a funny side to life, and open yourself up to how you can grow from inconveniences.
When you learn to see humor, you learn how to not let things bother you. Even though you still have that toxic coworker or frustrating relative, you can respond differently. You can laugh about it when things don’t go your way.
Those little things that bother you often won’t matter in a week, much less in a year or ten years. So try to have some perspective — things probably aren’t as bad as you think.
Using a sense of humor can help you stop letting things bother you so much. You might even get some good stories out of those bothersome moments.
Use these tips for how to not let things bother you starting today!
Since you can’t avoid conflict completely, learn how to not let things bother you. The little moments that bug you aren’t always that big of a deal.
Try these six tips to stop letting things bother you and enjoy a more relaxed existence. And to apply this idea to your finances, find out how to manage debt stress and set boundaries with your money!