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5 Ways To Lessen The Duration Of Undesirable Events

Undesirable Events:

As a child, I would dwell on undesirable events such as major tests in college, dentist visits, certain family functions, and so forth.  I use to dread the events the very moment I would wake up in the morning, and think negatively about the event for the entire day and sometime into the next day and beyond…  So this following advice is for the benefit of someone who still goes through these emotions and for my kids since I’ve noticed that they display some of the same reactions to such undesirable events as I once did.

Drawing out the Duration:

Now that I’m no longer a child, I’ve come to realize that such behavior is both time and thought waste.  To dwell on the what ifs and continue to complain about it is a type of opportunity cost, because such efforts are in vain.  The are in vain because that’s wasted energy that could be enjoyed doing other things.  In stead of enjoying at least a little of the day, I use to go into such a negative spiral that I was miserable for that entire day!  Even when the day might have been filled with some great positives, I would take that one small negative and convert my entire day to a negative. 

5 ways to Lessen the Duration:

  • If possible, do the event with speed and effectiveness.  To do it slowly and draw it out make the negative event take twice as long!  So if you have to do a chore do it quickly and be done with it.  As I kid I learned this lesson fairly quickly.  The same can be said with homework…
  • Cap the amount that you let the event affect you.  I’ve learned that sometimes I use to make mountains out of mole hills.
  • If the event is a mindless boring event, use your mind to escape!  I’ve been able to think of some great ideas (and even blogging articles) while in such mind-numbing events.
  • Quickly forget the event.  If there is no life lesson (like a dentist appointment visit), forget it as quickly as possible!  Why dwell on such a worthless thing to think about (brush your teeth after every meal).
  • Pepper in some activities before and immediately after the negative event.  The activities could be productive activities so that you feel like you accomplished something even though the negative event happened.  If you don’t have and productive activities to do, then consider doing cheap positive activities (a walk in the park, a movie and/or dinner, finishing a good book).

View every day as an opportunity to experience or accomplish some positive or at least productive activities.

Readers, we would love to hear if you have any techniques to lessen undesirable events in your life?


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17 Responses to 5 Ways To Lessen The Duration Of Undesirable Events

  1. I try to just put everything in perspective… too much effort focused on “what if” versus reality. I used to freak out for mistakes at work, but realized, they’re relatively minor, why bother worrying!

  2. I try not to think about the event period, but I fail sometimes.

    The funny thing is, sometimes I dread certain commitments, and then I end up enjoying them somewhat. I had made such a mountain out of that molehill that the experience itself could not possibly be as bad as I made it out to be.

    I hate that feeling of thinking about something I have to do and having that dread fall over me. Quite often, I just have to get it over with, if I have any control over when it is done.

    Really enjoyed this post MR, probably because I could have written it myself.

    • I have the same experiences! There has been many times that (especially when I was younger) I would experiece the same positive feels after dreading an event almost to the point where I’m combative…. Then I really enjoy it… funny huh…

      I still experience the same feelings and thoughts, but I keep my tongue and facial experessions in play.

  3. If it is an impending doom event (dentist visit!), put your mind towards something else – reading a book, cleaning the closet etc., this will take your mind away from it.

    This I find works superbly.

  4. I’ll often get bizarre nightmares about the event. My subconscious hates me.

    One technique I use is to think about the worst possible case scenario… I fail the exam, I drop out of school, I end up becoming a math teacher instead of an economics professor. I move to the SF bay area and live happily ever after with less stress. That sort of thing.

    • I relate! After I graduated from college and had a job, I use to dream that I dropped out and couldn’t find a job. It was the most bizarre dream! Luckily I haven’t had that dream in a long while.

  5. I’m the same way. I’ll have to try some of your tips. So far, the only two things that can change the way I feel when I get into that negative spiral is to go take one of my horses for a ride or go for a run with a book (if my mind continues to go :P, I can stop and read for a while).

  6. I’m starting to realize that we have to accept not only things we don’t want, but some unpleasant things that we just have to deal with. So, by getting them done and over with, it’s like paying off a debt. Get it done, then be debt free! Same personal finance princple can be applied here – get rid of the obligation/pain as soon as possible, then get on with more enjoyable times.

  7. I find the best remedy to feeling stress is action. You have a presentation, then you prepare and practice. You have a test, then you study, etc, etc.

    It’s often easier said than done, but worrying just makes things worse. You have to ask yourself “how can I make this feeling go away” and then do it. On things you can’t control, like a layoff or what not, then distracting yourself works…and even then, you could still be working on your resume, networking, calling headhunters and preparing for the worst.

    • Sounds like you have a good approach around negatives too!

      I do like to do the task with speed and effectivness to get it out of the way quickly, so the rest of the day/week/month/year is more enjoyable 😉

  8. I’ve never been a hugely negative person. When something dreadful comes up and I have to go or do something about it, I easily am able to forget it quickly. I try not to harp on anything negative for too long. 😉