But why should we have to? If we have a problem, at what point do we decide to change it? Many wait for the niggle to turn into a bigger problem, like going to the doctor once every two years and using up every second of your ten minute slot with your long list of ailments that have worried you through the years.
As I discussed this event with friends they all agreed that strapless bras can be a pain in the behind; I know what you’re thinking, what kind of friends do I have that wear a bra on their behind, right? Joking aside, when us women have to look professional, or sexy, or composed and confident, or anything else we believe is expected of us in any given moment, digging a strapless bra out of our ribs does not fit in to the overall look we are going for – and yet we put up with it.
But what everyday things niggle you and what can you do about it moving forward in your everyday life? Triumph did a survey which suggested that women can have moments of irritation about the smallest things and can experience niggles up to five times in a day. A traffic jam when you’re already late (niggle #3), a no smoking sign on your cigarette break, rain on your wedding day (#14) or a free ride when you’ve already paid – pretty sure I know a song about that! But isn’t it true when Alanis sang that song back in the 90’s we all laughed, because we could relate to it.
People say things like ‘that’s typical of my luck, that always or never happens to me”, and even, “these things come in three, that’s sods law, and that’s life.’ But what if I told you that’s not true? What if I told you that we get what we are focusing on… and more importantly, we can change it!
So you wake up in the morning and maybe you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, what’s your first thought of the morning? Awesome I can’t wait to get to work? Or is it more like ‘blah, crap it’s raining and I don’t want to get up, Simon in accounts is going to be on at me again, and I have so much to do.’ We effectively get what we expect, so start your morning by setting your intentions. If something does go wrong outside of your control how you decide to react to that is so important – if you decide that this means it’s going to be one of those days, you’re more likely to notice every time something does go wrong. So here is my #nigglefix number 1 - If you start your morning wondering how you can make it even better, you are giving your brain two instructions 1) the day is going to be good and 2) you are open to noticing opportunities to make it even better.
The human brain has to contend with 40 billion bits of information per second. We can’t deal with all of that, so we unconsciously choose 2000 bits to process and we delete A LOT of that information too!
So, turning the unconscious to the conscious is the second tip I would give you in making changes to be able to better deal with the small things that irritate us in any given day. 90% of what we do is done unconsciously, and our unconscious mind is the part that we all have, that once something becomes a habit, we can remember to forget about it. So for example, how many people here remember learning to drive? You get in the car and you are told to focus on the mirror, signal and manoeuvre, on top of that we have to coordinate our feet, remembering the right way around for the accelerate, brake and clutch and then we have to move our left hand to move the gear stick. That’s A LOT of information right? Chuck in the mix road rules and pedestrians and we wonder how we will ever learn to drive. Now you get in the car, and travel from A to B many times in a week, and some days you wonder how you managed to get in the car frantically running late, and get out with full make-up! Do you remember telling yourself to mirror, signal and manoeuvre? I doubt it….it’s a habit formed, you no longer need to think about it. So what else has become so much of a habit that you no longer need to think about. When did you decide that you were going to be irritated by rude people – is it really in the moment, or have you pre-programmed yourself to look out for them and be irritated?
To become more conscious of the everyday instructions we give to ourselves we can start by keeping a thought journal – for two weeks make a note of every negative thought that pops in your mind, and also notice the feelings that these thoughts create too. Are there some days when you are more easily niggled than others? Is the missed train the real problem (#19), or is it that you hate your job and are dragging your feet to get there…which of course will inevitably make you late. Allow yourself to be conscious of what is really going on so you can change it easily.
My final niggle fix is another great writing exercise you can do at the end of each day. Keep a gratitude journal by the bed, and at the end of the day write at least three positive things that you are grateful for in your day. Even in your worst day, you can find something. So the rude know it all spoke over you again (#1), perhaps you can be grateful for your strength to stay composed. Looking at the resources you have to be able to deal with certain situations can create a massive shift in perspective within your mind and allow you to react very differently in the future.
We can choose to live at cause or at effect – when we are at effect we do things like get irritated and blame the traffic warden for not letting us off that parking ticket, but when we move over to cause we have much more power and can learn to laugh about it, live in the moment and accept that some things are out of our control, but we can learn from them, or leave them! Little things that niggle us is part of a much much bigger picture, so next time you find that frustration bubble up ask yourself what else is happening in your world to be so irritated by missing the bus, mr or mrs know it all speaking over you in a meeting, not having time for self (#9)…. and what can you do to change that? If you’re anything like Triumph, you’ll invent something new that we can all benefit from and pave the way to your own success.
Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its stress but empties the moment of its strength. Understanding what is behind the little niggles that bother you and dealing with them in the moment enables you to be in a much more resourceful state, allowing you to notice opportunities and laugh at perceived fails. When we are focusing on the car that cut us up, we don’t notice the hot guy in the next car over checking us out, when we focus on the know it all at work, we don’t notice the feedback we get from our conduct, when we think about having to stand under the armpit of someone on a packed bus, we don’t appreciate our ability to stand, when we miss the train in the morning, we aren’t learning how to be more organised.
But we can.
Start now by unrutifying yourself HERE.