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It seems increasingly hard to keep calm. With so much bad news around, it’s hard to keep our perspective on what to emotionally hang on to and what to let go.

Stressful feelings may come after watching too many news programs. Some come after driving around those who don’t know how to drive safely. Some come when someone tells us what to do when we already know what to do. Some come because someone doesn’t do what we expect them to do.

Whatever the cause of stress or wherever it comes from, it’s not healthy. The pressure it builds inside us is often released on those we love the most. That, in turn, causes stress in them which causes more stress in us and round and round it goes.

I recently read a newspaper article by Pennie Hunt about the term Q-Tip which stands for Quit Taking It Personally. Not everything happens just to irritate us. Sometimes things that happen just happen through no fault of our own. How we react to it determines whether we let it go or internalize it and turn it into aggravation and pressure. Using the mantra Q-Tip seems a simple way to stop some of the stress and restore calm.

We all know there are crazy drivers out there. Driving is a hazardous activity, and the hazards increase exponentially when a bunch of angry drivers are on the roads, driving too fast, ranting about how other people are driving crazy, and/or trying to pay back some infraction they felt was done to them. They make other drivers angry, and the ripple effect starts. Q-Tip: unless you’re in law enforcement, there’s nothing you can do about people driving badly so why get all riled up? They are doing it to everyone which means it’s their problem, not yours. Let them go. Sooner or later, they’ll reap what they sow, and pray they don’t hurt anyone.

Personally, I hate being told how to drive and especially where to park. When Someone who has a strong propensity to do that is with me, it drives me crazy and stresses me out. I get angry which doesn’t help the situation. It goes on long after whatever started it is forgotten. Q-Tip: the best way for me to handle this is to say, “Thank you, dear” and either do what I want and acknowledge he is trying to be helpful. It’s not worth getting upset over it, and the stress it causes doesn’t help anything. Life is too short for mindless bickering. It’s much calmer and more peaceful when people say thank you.

Be truthful, haven’t you done something dumb while driving? Did you intend to make other people mad? Don’t you wish there was an international sign for “Oops, my bad”? Maybe cut some slack to those who might have made a mistake (don’t throw the first stone sort of thing). Maybe we should try to understand the pressures other people are experiencing and have more empathy. That speeding driver might be on his way to the hospital with an emergency. That person who cut in front of you in line at the store might not have realized you were part of the line. (I’ve done that, get in a line not realizing it was the middle and not the end; an innocent mistake.) Maybe the person who is griping a lot had a really bad day and is releasing pressure at anyone around them. Give them the break they need. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1).

A lot more kindness might be found if people adopted the principle of Q-Tip. When you realize the world isn’t out to get you, you might feel more at peace. We need more people calm and at peace, don’t you think?

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret–it only causes harm. Psalm 37:7-8

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