This Technique is The Key To Surviving Everyday Frustration
The voice is coming out of my iPhone, tinny and electronic in the dark room.
“Breathe in and feel the hand on your abdomen rise,” the voice says. I breathe in and out, in time with his commands.
“Keep your eyes shut,” I will myself. “Just for another minute. It’s probably almost over. Keep your eyes shut.” I breathe in and out and try to get in rhythm with the tinny voice.
I’m not very good at meditating. I’d almost always rather be doing something else, like checking something off of my to do list or – like last night – just going straight to sleep after a long day. But I can’t ignore all of the research I’ve done that confirms how good meditation is for you, so I persist. I turn on my meditation app and try to focus my mind, even though my frustrated mind fights me every step of the way.
It made me wonder – how many times during the course of a single day do we think “I wish this was over already?” Here’s my personal list:
- When I’m working out in the morning
- Sitting in traffic on the way to a meeting
- Making sales calls to build my business
- Doing the dishes after dinner
- Arguing with my husband over whose turn it is to do the dishes after dinner 😉
- Waiting for my slowest dog to do her business already
- Meditating in the evening
What does yours look like? Arguing with a toddler over what they’re going to wear? Sitting in a daily staff meeting that sounds just like yesterday’s? Making dinner for someone who doesn’t appreciate it?
Time Traveling to the Future
Of course it’s natural to wish the boring or frustrating moments were finished and over with. But if we put our attention on the annoyance, we’re giving our mind permission to be miserable. Instead, studies show that the most successful people have something called a “future orientation.” Future orientation is an ability to focus on what’s coming and what’s possible, instead of current circumstances. It offers us an ability to be hopeful, instead of frustrated.
What does that look like? Well, for me it means thinking of how strong I’m going to be instead of how my quads burn right now. Or how much more peaceful I’ll feel once the dishes are done. Or how accomplished I’ll feel once I make a sale. Or how that meeting is going to move my business forward, once I get through the traffic.
We say to ourselves, “I wish this was over already.” But it will be over soon enough, and wishing won’t really make it happen any faster. Life will never be empty of daily frustrations and stress. But if we can shift our focus to future orientation instead of the annoyances of the present, it makes the struggle feel worth it.