Learn more about 30 Days & 30 Tiny Ways.

TODAY: Let go of anger and frustration.

Letting go of anger

They say this is the “most wonderful time of the year.” But it can also be the most frustrating. Everyone’s in a hurry. Their errands are the most important. People can be rude on the highway, in the grocery store, at the mall.

Still, holding on to anger and letting it smolder only adds stress to an already stressful time of year and anger keeps us from appreciating those around us. If we can let go of our anger and frustration, we free ourselves up for more worthwhile ways to spend our time.

I learned this firsthand in line at the pharmacy the other day. I waited behind a woman who took 20 minutes, working with one pharmacist, to pick up her prescription. Three other pharmacists behind the counter blatantly ignored me and the growing line of similarly frustrated people behind me. My anger began to grow. I felt my hands clench. My heart began to beat faster. I grew increasingly indignant: WHY couldn’t these people get their acts together? Didn’t they know I had things to do and places to be??? Then, when it finally was my turn, the pharmacist couldn’t find my prescription. In fact, they had no record of it. I spent all that time waiting — for nothing! I just about lost it.

I was about to let my anger get the best of me. It would have been easy. It might even have felt good to get it out, at least for a minute. But something came over me. Call it the holiday spirit, grace, or, who knows. But I took a deep breath. I shrugged it off. I realized it was not necessarily this pharmacist’s fault. Maybe my doctor’s office forgot to call in my prescription. And I also realized that blowing my top wouldn’t be cool or kind.

I’m not sure if the pharmacist appreciated my change of attitude (it all took place in the span of several seconds inside my head), but I know I appreciated my ability to calm down and think things through. It was a little moment. But it changed the course of my day and my interactions with others. I felt grateful.

It’s not always easy, but if you can appreciate and acknowledge the anger and frustration you feel in the moment, then let it go and move on, I think you’ll feel grace and gratitude too.