Excerpt from Don't Sweat The Small Stuff by Dr Richard Carlson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

And It's All Small Stuff

By Dr Richard Carlson

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff
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  • Hardcover: Jan 1997,
    284 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 1998,
    255 pages.

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1. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

0ften we allow ourselves to get all worked up about things that, upon closer examination, aren't really that big a deal.

We focus on little problems and concerns and blow them way out of proportion. A stranger, for example, might cut in front of us in traffic. Rather than let it go, and go on with our day, we convince ourselves that we are justified in our anger. We play out an imaginary confrontation in our mind. Many of us might even tell someone else about the incident later on rather than simply let it go.

Why not instead simply allow the driver to have his accident somewhere else? Try to have compassion for the person and remember how painful it is to be in such an enormous hurry.

This way, we can maintain our own sense of well-being and avoid taking other people's problems personally.

There are many similar, 'small stuff' examples that occur every day in our lives. Whether we had to wait in line, listen to unfair criticism, or do the lion's share of the work, it pays enormous dividends if we learn not to worry about little things.

So many people spend so much of their life energy "sweating the stuff" that they completely lose touch with the magic and beauty of life. When you commit to working toward this goal you will find that you will have far more energy to be kinder and gentler.

7. Don't Interrupt Others or Finish Their Sentences

It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized how often I interrupted others and/or finished their sentences. Shortly thereafter, I also realized how destructive this habit was, not only to the respect and love I received from others but also for the tremendous amount of energy it takes to try to be in two heads at once! Think about it for a moment. When you hurry someone along, interrupt someone, or finish his or her sentence, you have to keep track not only of your own thoughts but o those of the person you are interrupting as well. This tendency (which, by the way, is extremely common in busy people), encourages both parties to speed up their speech and their thinking. This, in turn, makes both people nervous, irritable, and annoyed. It's downright exhausting. It's also the cause of many arguments, because if there's one thing almost everyone resents, it's someone who doesn't listen to what they are saying. And how can you really listen to what someone is saying when you are speaking for that person?

Once you begin noticing yourself interrupting others, you'll see that this insidious tendency is nothing more than an innocent habit that has become invisible to you. This is good news because it means that all you really have to do is to begin catching yourself when you forget. Remind yourself (before a conversation begins, if possible) to be patient and wait. Tell yourself to allow the other person to finish speaking before you take your turn. You'll notice, right away, how much the interactions with the people in your life will improve as a direct result of this simple act. The people you communicate with will feel much more relaxed around you when they feel heard and listened to. You'll also notice how much more relaxed you'll feet when you stop interrupting others. Your heart and pulse rates will slow down, and you'll begin to enjoy your conversations rather than rush through them. This is an easy way to become a more relaxed, loving person.

16. Ask Yourself the Question, "Will This Matter a Year from Now?"

Almost every day I play a game with myself that I call "time warp" I made it up in response to my consistent, erroneous belief that what I was all worked up about was really important.

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© Dr Richard Carlson 1997.  Published by Hyperion

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