Starting a conversation on a positive note can make the bullshit seem less stressful. Here are some thoughts on why a cup of coffee may be your saving grace.
Here’s a quote that made me think this morning:
“When I was in a dark period, I instituted a simple rule that changed my life.
Rule: When I arrive home from work, the very first thing I tell my wife is the best thing that happened that day.
No exceptions. No complaining. Just the best thing that day, even if it was just a good cup of coffee. This had the effect of starting our evening off on a positive note and it changed our relationship.”
- Brad Einarsen
Often, the first thing that I do when I see someone at the end of the day is unload all of the bullshit. Post work, the stress levels are high.
You’ve had to keep your cool for eight hours.
Now, it’s time to let go of every emotion that’s stacked itself up.
Does venting help?
Sure, in doses.
Venting relieves stress and releases tension. But framing your day through a positive lens may deflate the stress before the venting begins. Maybe that problem you felt the need to vent away isn’t such a problem.
Take the “cup of coffee” example from Brad.
When is the last time you truly appreciated a delicious cup of coffee? I drink a mug of hot, black coffee every morning. Maybe twice a month, I stop to think about how lucky I am to be enjoying this cup aromatic bean juice.
Pretend these four things happened to you today:
You got into a fender bender that was the other driver’s fault
The deal you wanted to close at work fell through
The dry cleaners couldn’t get the stain out of your gray chinos
You had a delicious cup of coffee
Three of these things represent problems of varying degrees. The last event, drinking coffee, is a simple, often underappreciated act.
Now, take this first scenario. You walk into the door and right off the bat you unload the negativity onto your wife:
“This motherfucker hit me from behind while I was dead stopped at a red light. Then, he didn’t even have insurance, and I was on the phone for almost an hour and a half trying to clear this mess up. Because of the accident, I got to the meeting late, the client felt disrespected, I was still fuming from the insurance call, and I blew the deal. Ho-leeee Fuck. I fucking hate dry cleaning.”
Now, imagine starting the conversation with the coffee:
“You know what? I had the greatest fucking cup of coffee at lunch today. Hazelnut and a splash of almond milk. I didn’t realize how much I loved coffee until I sat and allowed myself to taste it. I never taste my food or drink anymore. I’m always distracted by something else. Some other shit happened today too, but fuck it; I’ll take care of it tomorrow. I love you.”
Maybe those two examples are a bit extreme, but the power of starting a conversation with “the best thing that day” can’t be underestimated. It can turn a sourpuss evening into a romantic dinner and a great fuck.
Don’t bottle up your feelings.
That’s never a good idea.
And don’t walk around with the fake positivity that’s so popular on social media. Talk about how you feel, be vulnerable, and don’t pretend to be happy when you aren’t.
If you start with the positives, the things you are most grateful for, you won’t have to pretend to be happy.
You’ll beam just by talking about the best part of your day as you feel the bullshit fade.
Sure, your problems will still be there after the cup of coffee, but they won’t ignite the same stress response.