How to Handle Frustrating Situations

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As a high school teacher, people usually think that the most challenging aspect of my job comes from dealing with student behavior, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes the most difficult part of teaching high school is dealing with teenagers personal lives and getting them to leave their personal problems outside of the classroom. As we all know, to a teenager, whatever they are going through is a big deal. If they have a problem, that problem usually starts to consume them and trickle into other aspects of their lives. As a result, they can’t focus on what they need to because they haven’t learned how to handle situations as they arise. And let’s be honest – many adults don’t always know how to handle challenging situations as they occur either. Myself included.

At my former school, one of my colleagues has a saying that she teaches to the group of teenage girls we mentor and that saying is:

“Put it on a Clock.”

When girls come into her office with a problem – any problem ranging from a disagreement with a parent, failing a test to not getting into their first choice school – she will say to them “Ok. How much time are you going to put on the clock? How much time are you willing to spend on this situation?” And she let’s the girls decide what they think is the appropriate amount of time for that particular issue.

What always amazes me about this process is the end result. Often times, the girls would realize that they were spending way too much time and energy on issues that were not really worth their time. In one particular incident, one of the girls had a conflict with her best friend. She found out that her friend was talking about her behind her back and putting her business out in the street. And we know in girl-world, this is an issue no matter what your age lol.

When she was asked how much time she wanted to spend on it, she first said “I don’t know. I think this is big. She was my girl.” After going back and forth in her head, she settled on an hour. But after 20 minutes of talking about the issue, she was done. She realized that while she was rehashing the situation by dwelling on it, the other girl was not. So she was spending her time being upset and distracted in class while the other girl was happy-go-lucky. Was she hurting? Yes. But she decided that she wasn’t going to let it bother her.

So what’s the point you may ask?                        

The point is this: time is precious. Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. You can’t control other people or situations, but you can control your thoughts and your reactions to bad situations.

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Don’t allow people to steal your time and power by getting offended, upset or worrying about things that you cannot change. The thoughts may get into your mind and the emotions may come, but don’t dwell on them…for too long. When you meditate on those negative thoughts or that negative situation, you are allowing it to get into your heart and affect you. There goes your good mood along with the rest of your day.

Don’t waste your emotional energy on things (and people) that won’t affect your life in the long run. Guard your mind and your heart by putting situations on a clock. Will some issues be more serious than others? And will you need more time to deal with those situations? Yes – of course. Take the necessary amount of time to handle them. But don’t let those situations consume you.  When an issue arises, decide how much time you need to focus on it before you can let it go. Then set the clock, and once your time is up, LET IT GO and keep it moving.

 

I want To Know:

  • What situations do you need to put on a clock?
  • How do you handle frustrating situations?