A new survey shows that UK citizens waste an average of three and a half years of their lives being angry. That's a lot of wasted time on frustrating customer service calls and cleaning dog poop off your shoe. Psychologist Guy Winch suggests that you can't avoid feeling angry about these minor annoyances, but there is a better way to deal with them.
Winch suggests that letting things go is a nice thought, but it isn't going to reduce our irritation with the problem. So is going into attack mode the answer? We've already learnt that venting frustration will only make anger worse. Winch says the best approach is to take those complaints and turn them into actions:
Every minor irritation and annoyance we face presents an opportunity for us to take action and create change. Instead of complaining about the things that frustrate us and wasting years of our lives feeling angry and irritated, we could channel our frustration into solutions. If we all did so, if we all complained effectively about the 'small stuff', there would be much less of the 'small stuff' to sweat.
You can do this by losing your anger/attitude so people will actually listen to what you have to say, directing your complaints at people who can actually do something about them, and being clear and concise. If you need some help we've got a complaint letter template and a guide to effective complaining to help you out. Winch has a detailed book on complaining if you want a lot of great information.
To some extent, it's common sense that you need to direct your anger at the right sources and be calm and constructive when doing so. Nonetheless, it's one of the things we forget the most because it's easy to get lost in anger. Looking at anger as an opportunity to make things better, however, can create a good habit of complaining effectively rather than just venting frustration and making the situation worse for everyone involved.
How Much Of Your Life Do You Spend Angry? [Psychology Today]