Pet peeves are really about your state of mind

I’ve been thinking about pet peeves lately — maybe just because it’s winter and it’s making me feel less charitable towards Mother Nature.

I hate always feeling cold. My more natural inclination would be to stay indoors and hibernate. But, sadly, I cannot. When I do have to venture out, I rush back inside and try to warm up, but it takes me so long to thaw out, that I’m still chilled when it’s time to go out again.

They say summer is the most natural time of year to be active, but I tend to hustle around more in the winter to spend less time in weather that hurts my face.

My feet are perpetually wet and cold. I guess you could call that a pet peeve.

What gets you feeling peevish?

Common ones are being interrupted, being cut off by a careless or distracted driver, people not covering their mouths when they cough, chewing loudly or with their mouth open.

Perhaps my most genuine pet peeve, however, is that people find things to be irritated or offended about more than they choose to be grateful.

Annoyed you can’t find the brand or item you were looking for at the grocery store? Be glad acquiring things you need is as easy as walking into the store, or that you have the means to purchase it.

Disgruntled or concerned about government, politics or other current issues? That’s OK, it’s good to be engaged, but consider for a moment that at least you live in a country where political dissent isn’t illegal.

How often do we let small things our family, friends or associates do annoy us when we should just be enjoying their company?

Hey, I know I’m guilty. I probably get annoyed at least 10 times before I’ve even left the house, trying to get three kids into winter gear and out the door on time.

I let small things bother me or stress me out. And I know if I choose to open my big mouth that I will inevitably be filling it with crow or the taste of my own feet, whichever metaphor you prefer to torture.

My Dad coined a corny, but wise, phrase when I was a teenager that stuck with me, and that was: “have an attitude of gratitude, not stinkin’ thinkin’.”

The holiday season, with so much to celebrate, including renewal and fresh starts, is a good time to resolve to be grateful. It will open you up to what life has to offer, and has already proffered you.

Studies have shown that practising gratitude actually rewires your brain to be happier.

As we are grateful for what we have, we then also become more generous towards others, and thinking of others and generosity to strangers is a common theme in Christmas among all the different ways and reasons to celebrate.

When you try to look on the bright side, you may even find that optimism opens up your mind to finding solutions to problems instead of just grumbling about them.

Case in point: as I’m writing this, my feet are toasty and warm from a space heater I brought in that is now stowed under my desk. It’s a small thing — toasty feet — but it helps.

Merry Christmas and stay warm.

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