Top 25 Small Things You Let Ruin Your Mood

by Stephen Mills on October 20, 2010


I often write general advice about not letting things upset you, controlling your response to circumstances, and so forth.  For me personally, and I think for most people, it is easier to notice and correct your negative reaction on those occasional “big issues”.  In reality though, it’s not the occasional big issue that makes you unhappy; rather it’s the accumulated wear and tear of all the small things all day every day that grind your mood down.  I struggle with many of these myself.  Our reactions tend to be so automatic we often don’t realize we are allowing ourselves to be negatively affected by them.

No matter what you think of this stuff, it does you absolutely no good to get upset over it.  All that does is make you miserable.  If you do catch yourself in an automatic negative response, take a deep breath and wave goodbye to that which you refuse to let bring you down.  Over time your automatic negative reactions will disappear and the lack of reaction will become your new default response.  Peaceful well-being is a wonderful state and it is yours for the taking.

Please add your suggestions in the comments.  I’m sure I missed a number of good ones.

  1. People talking loud on their cell phones in public places.
  2. Aggressive sales people or crusaders.
  3. Slow old people.
  4. The speed or manner in which others are driving.
  5. People who complain all the time.
  6. People who rush to dart in front of you and steal your parking place or spot in line.
  7. Somebody who never admits they to their mistakes or that they might be wrong about something.
  8. Mannerisms in others that bother you.
  9. People in retail establishments who are more concerned with their social lives behind the counter than providing you with service.
  10. General inconsiderate behavior by others; many people seem to think only they exist and could care less about your convenience.
  11. Waiting in line for anything.
  12. Colleagues or managers who don’t agree with you.
  13. People with different political viewpoints.
  14. People who say or do things just to yank your chain.
  15. Unfair or disrespectful criticism.
  16. People who play their bass so loud that feel it in your chest.
  17. People who interrupt you.
  18. People who always have a better story than the one you just told.
  19. Know-it-alls.
  20. The size of your to-do list.
  21. The cluelessness of teenagers.
  22. The mess in your house.
  23. The lack of appreciation from your family.
  24. People who constantly dump their problems on you.
  25. Tardiness.

If you truly learn to stop reacting negatively to these small things, your life will get a whole lot better.  I know that for a fact because they are the kind of things I have been and continue to strive to not let them affect me in any way.  It’s the difference between a wonderful day and a miserable day.

What do YOU think?  Leave a comment and join the conversation.


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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Nea | Self Improvement Saga October 20, 2010 at 2:38 pm

#7 and #11 drive me absolutely bonkers. My mood just took a nose dive just thinking about them. Another little big deal for me is when someone tries to talk to me while I’m on the phone with someone else. My daughter and significant other are horrible about this. It makes me want to scream my head off. LOL. Life is hilarious!
Nea | Self Improvement Saga´s last blog post ..Inspirational Words- Making Choices


Stephen Mills October 26, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Well Nea, if you can laugh about it, then you’re doing OK 🙂


Debbie @ Happy Maker October 20, 2010 at 4:42 pm

You say slow older people. I say slow very over weight people. I do understand that they can’t move to quickly, but if they had moved quickly before maybe they wouldn’t have as much weight to carry. Your #5 is a biggy. I have learned to either walk away from these people or just say “I’m sorry life is that bad.” and then walk away. Great list and yes, we do have to learn to handle these types of people for our own happiness. We can not let them take from us.


Stephen Mills October 26, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Hi Debbie. Being at peace and not letting others or circumstances take that peace is my number 1 goal in life. Thank you for commenting!


Maeve September 9, 2012 at 11:35 pm

People who don’t know the difference between their, they’re, and there as well as to, two and too!


jean October 21, 2010 at 10:19 am

Parents or other caregivers who are verbally abusive to their children, or others in their care in public. This is a big one! It’s difficult to not to get upset about the damage being done to their current/future lives!


Stephen Mills October 23, 2010 at 8:35 am

Hi Jean you are right, it’s tough not to get upset about it. And yet it doesn’t do you any good. It’s best to shake your head calmly and move on anyway.


Sean October 21, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Insightful as usual Stephen. But I honestly felt no reason to read the list. Seemed to be the Zen thing to do.


Stephen Mills October 23, 2010 at 8:38 am

Hi Sean, thank you and that’s just fine. If you felt no reason, you probably didn’t need to read it 🙂


Zengirl @ Heart and Mind October 24, 2010 at 9:47 pm


I agree with many of the points here. I would just rephrase the “slow old people”, to just “slow people” as many young people who could be slow too and I think many old people are wiser beyond most of us. But then again, I am one of the slow people who do things slowly and enjoy the smell of roses.

I would add to list is “anything that we do not have control over”, such as rain, lousy weather, your favorite game losing and so on.
Zengirl @ Heart and Mind´s last blog post ..Great Classic Books that Everyone should Read At least once


Stephen Mills October 26, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Hello Zengirl, I totally agree about some old people being wise. I know I’m a heck of a lot wiser. But I also know they are often slow and I’m a very impatient person by nature. It’s just another thing I’ve decided to not let bother me any more. I’m sure someday I’ll be a slow old person bugging young people. Right now I’m just a crazy middle-aged person bugging everyone 🙂


Cassy October 24, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Things that bug me are when the prices of things keep going up and the government say that thins are great. I do not know why they do not say the truth about things. Life would be alot simpler.


Stephen Mills October 26, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Hi Cassy, I spent many years being bugged over the actions of the government and the words of politicians. But I finally let it go and now I just ignore them. Thank you for commenting.


Derrick @In Car Electronics October 29, 2010 at 7:05 am

From the top 25 list, the only ones which really bother me are:

#2, #5, #7, #8, #10, #16, #17,#21, and #23.

Especially, #16 – I appreciate music, but not at 12 o’clock midnight! My neighbours are terrible!


Ray @Dental Treatments in Birmingham November 5, 2010 at 7:56 am

@Derrick, you should phone the police if your neighbours play music at 12 o’clock. How often do they do this? And what kind of music?

No.5# is my main thing that ruins my mood, when people complain all the time! I just hate that


Maeve September 9, 2012 at 11:40 pm

I’m also quite irritated by people who assume their base of knowledge and view point is the same as everyone else. These people have a remarkable ability to make you feel like an idiot even though you couldn’t have possibly read everything they have and chances are you probably have different educational backrounds (‘backgrounds’ didn’t look right).


GAGM October 30, 2012 at 12:40 am

SRRA Framework will do the trick.


ben February 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Most things on this list enrage me. And so does this list telling me what i can and can’t rage over


a June 21, 2014 at 9:15 pm

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8uTt3rfli January 30, 2015 at 12:31 am

So true and when youre in a good mood and you talk to someone in a bad mood , they automatically take it out on you. I mean what a way to spoil your mood/Or burst your bubble!


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