I almost began this post asking “Have you ever…” but then I thought that’s silly of course you’ve had times when you felt generally frustrated going through your day, maybe running errands or waiting in line at the post office, or stuck in traffic. Or maybe anger when a little old lady runs you over with a shopping cart, but you know that feeling of just being fed up with other people as you just try and get your sh*t done!
Well I want to share with you a couple things that have been very helpful for shifting my own perspective and putting me in a much calmer state of mind when I feel annoyed with others. This could even work when you feel intimidated by others or nervous to speak in front of them or struggle to connect.
Loving Kindness Meditation 1
This isn’t the kind of meditation that you have to do by yourself with your eyes closed (though you could do so). You can do this useful meditation anytime and anyplace, and even works best when there are people around you. ~Meghan Leah, MS, RD Click To Tweet I discovered this technique from a free podcast by the Meditation Society of Australia. This especially works well if you have any kind of spiritual belief system that our souls exist beyond the body.
Here’s how it works. Imagine that each person you see around you, and each person that you come in contact with is simply playing a role. They’re playing a role of being human, just for today, caught up in human dramas and emotions and problems. Really they’re loving souls on a spiritual journey of growth and just for fun, today they are fully embracing the human role.
You can picture them as they go about their business and every now and then, they look you in the eye in a knowing way, as though winking at you that this is just a role, not the real state of their souls. You play along, in your own human role, all the while keeping in mind that you both are loving souls, working toward the same goal of growth and wisdom.
If you can wrap your mind around this, it can turn your whole world around, and the way in which you related and connect and view other people. ~Meghan Leah, MS, RD Click To Tweet
Loving Kindness Meditation 2
If that seems a little abstract to you, or maybe you don’t have any spiritual beliefs, here’s a more straightforward meditation that has been thoroughly researched in positive psychology to improve people’s outlook, mood and even health!Here’s a more straightforward meditation that has been thoroughly researched in positive psychology to improve people’s outlook, mood and even health! ~Meghan Leah, MS, RD Click To Tweet
This one is more of a traditional meditation where you sit relaxed in a quiet place, and close your eyes. You start by picturing a close loved one and imagining they are there. Then you practice offering them love, peace, health and happiness by reciting a mantra several times. Then you add in other people you are about, imagining them in the room with you. You repeat the mantra to offer them the same. Then you expand the people in the room to also include acquaintances, and repeat the mantra. Finally you include strangers and feel this same love extended to them.
You can listen to free guided meditations by positive psychology researcher Barbara L. Fredrickson, PhD.
Pretend They’re a Close Family MemberA simple way to change your outlook on strangers is to imagine they’re a family member. ~Meghan Leah, MS, RD Click To Tweet
Now, I know we don’t always get along with family, but we tend to care about them even when they’re pissing us off.
I practiced this when I went to get my car routinely serviced one day. I pretended the person taking care of my appointment was a brother or cousin. I noticed I became more friendly, open and good-natured. In turn, the servicer seemed to take more interest and time finding out what coupons might apply to my service that day. Now, he may have done this anyway, there’s no real way to know. But I felt a lot better and happier than I normally would getting my car serviced!
This is one of my favorite perspective shifts to make. It makes anything you do around other people a lot more interesting and pleasant. ~Meghan Leah, MS, RD Click To Tweet You might find yourself taking more interest in other people, which in turn helps them show more kindness and appreciation for you. Try it some time! After all, they’re family to someone!
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