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Improve Your Life: Change Your Reactions

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As you drive to work one morning, a small car approaches, speeding up behind you. You glance in your rear-view mirror as the driver chats away on a cell phone and hovers far too closely to your car. After a few minutes, she finally whips out to the next lane. You find yourself speeding up, probably out of spite. The driver next to you accelerates enough to get just in front of you and promptly changes lanes, cutting you off in the process. Fully aware that this driver is more concerned about her phone conversation than the traffic, you blast your horn. She reacts by slamming on her brakes and serving you with an obscene gesture out the window.

The brake slamming has a domino effect as you push hard on your brakes and you hear others squealing behind you. Your face burns hot as you clearly see her finger sticking out the window and you think, “the nerve!” You are shaken up by the near collision and disgusted by the actions of this stranger on the road. You memorize her license plate before she speeds away, never putting down her cell phone. Your anger builds with each mile you drive. You continue to repeat her license plate number, certain that you will be able to report her as a crazy driver on the road.

The heavy traffic makes you even angrier. Once finally at work, you can’t find a close parking spot. You drop your keys getting out of your car and hit your head on the door as you bend down to pick them up. Everything seems to be going wrong and it all started with that inconsiderate driver. You are having a horrible day. But did it have to be this way?

A great lesson to teach our kids is that you do not have control over the actions of others but you can control how you react to people and situations. I try to follow the same advice. It is not always easy but couldn’t we all be more positive and happier people if we changed the way we let things affect us?
Unfortunately, people do not always do the right thing or treat others as they would like to be treated.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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