You’re cruising along at work, or home hanging out. You’re having a perfectly fine day, when – whammo – something comes out of nowhere and seriously messes it up.

I’m not talking devastating, earth-shattering events, I mean those zingers that ruin your mood and your groove.

The hot water heater breaks, or your puppy makes the new rug its personal commode. Your blog goes down just as your latest post goes viral on Twitter. Your boss tells you she needs that report before you go home, as you were packing up for the weekend.

Any of this sound familiar?

You work hard and live right, but sometimes life throws you an annoying or time-consuming curveball, despite your best efforts. It happens to everyone.

But it makes you mad, or anxious, and it doesn’t feel fair.

And you’re right – it’s not. But it’s life. So before you throw up your hands and call the day a loss, here’s how to take care of it and move on with grace:

  1. Acknowledge that whatever happened is no fun. Say it out loud, with feeling: “This SUCKS.” Better yet: “This sucks.”  Feel free to flail your arms or jump up and down for emphasis. (If you’re at work, make sure you do this in private!) Here are other ways you can let out your frustration.
  2. Take a few deep breaths. Feel your blood pressure dropping. Take a few more. (Or try these de-stressors.)
  3. Ask yourself: Will this thing kill you or anyone you love? Will it bankrupt you? No? Then you’re fine. Annoyed maybe, but fine.
  4. Think about the big picture. Will this glitch matter in the long run? Probably not. It might slow you down a bit, but it’s probably not causing irreparable damage.
  5. What can you do right now to fix the problem? Do it now. (Call the plumber, run to the store for rug cleaner, contact your blog host, make a cup of coffee and finish the report.)

Now you’ve taken care of the immediate problem, but you’re still stewing. Here are a few more tips to set yourself straight:

  • Sit down with a notebook and write out the good things that happened in the last week or so. You’ll see that this curveball is just a blip.
  • Take care of something else that needs doing. It can be small, but something so you feel like the day wasn’t a total waste.
  • Get your mind off it. Work out, call a friend, read a magazine. Obsessing doesn’t do any good, and every time you catch yourself, redirect your mind. Think how you’ll laugh about it later. It’s a cliché, but it’s true.
  • When it comes down to it, you just have to let it go. Take a walk or a bath, have a cup of tea or a glass of wine, get a good night’s sleep, and start fresh tomorrow. That’s the beauty of life: you get a do-over, every single day.

The truth is, the more you deal with these kinds of issues the better off you are. Not that I want anything less than unicorns and rainbows for you, but there’s power in experience.

After you handle a few of these with efficiency and aplomb, they won’t upset you so much when they come up next time. You’ll zip right through and move on to the rest of your day. Congratulations! You’ve become a person who gets stuff done, no matter what.

How do you deal when life throws you a curveball? Let us know in the comments!

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(Photo credit: Baseball in the Infield via Shutterstock)

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