Skip to main content

Argh! 8 ways to ease everyday frustrations

Learn how to better cope with life’s little irritations

You’ve been stuck on hold for what seems like forever. Before anyone answers, you’re disconnected. You stub your toe on your way out the door. Your best friend is late — again.

Nothing here is likely a catastrophe. But everyday frustrations may still derail and dampen your mood, especially if they pile up.

Riding it out

Life is easier — and more peaceful — when you help yourself stay unruffled. Here are eight simple ways to help keep little irritations from getting the best of you.

1. Step away. Are you starting to lose it because the lawn mower won’t start? Or your teen isn’t listening? If possible, remove yourself from the situation — maybe with a quick tension-taming walk.

2. Go right for gratitude. For most irritations, it’s not hard to find an upside. For example, before grumbling at your sister for changing plans, remember you’re lucky to have family you enjoy spending time with. Stuck in a long grocery line? Be thankful for the nourishing food you can afford. 

3. Soothe yourself. Rather than stewing, take slow, deep breaths. Close your eyes. Imagine a peaceful place. Or sit quietly and repeat a soothing word or phrase.

4. Do the does-it-matter test. Ask yourself, “Is this really worth getting upset about?” Will it matter in a few days, a month or year? If not, let it go.

5. Hunt for humor in hassles. There’s often something at least a little amusing in annoying situations — if you look for it.

6. Look for an opportunity. Say your flight is delayed — or your son’s soccer practice is running long. Tell yourself, “This is my time.” Squeeze in a walk. Call a friend to catch up. Clean out your wallet, purse or glove box.

7. Let go of perfection. You forget an appointment. Someone left a dirty dish on the counter. Your dog chewed up another sock. Clearly, nobody’s flawless. Try to keep expectations realistic — of yourself, of others and of life in general.

8. Practice a little prevention. If you can anticipate stressful situations, you can head them off before they happen. For example, maybe you repeatedly misplace your keys at home. Set up a specific place to put them.

Or are you flustered every workday morning? Try picking out your clothes the night before. Pack your lunch. Organize your briefcase or workout bag. 

What to do next

Use a morning mantra to start your day off right. Check out a few options for inspiration.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Want to receive our enewsletter? Subscribe to Healthy Mind Healthy Body® today.

  • If you are a new member, register on® to begin getting the newsletter.
  • If you've already registered on, log into your account and update your Subscriptions in the Account Settings section.

Looks like your browser is a little out-of-date.

Experience at its fullest by upgrading to a newer version of one of these browsers: