Recently, my husband and I were sitting in the living room playing cards but we couldn't hear each other because of the noise outside. It was so loud. And so annoying. We had to close the door which made us even more frustrated because we really wanted it open for the fresh air. Watch the video or keep reading to find you what was happening in our back alley.
So what was all that noise? People yelling and screaming. More specifically, kids. Yup that’s right. The murderous sound that bothered us so much was the happy sound of children running around playing. Now I was REALLY annoyed, but this time at me!
What were we thinking? What was wrong with us? This was BEAUTIFUL. "Oh my gosh, kids are actually playing OUTSIDE!” I asked my husband, if he could remember the last time we saw this? “Never. This never happens.” We've lived here for 10 years, and we’ve never seen a large group of children playing outside. Maybe one or two on occasion, but this, never! Most kids in our neighbourhood were usually rushing to sports games and after school lessons, or some other activity there were enrolled in. And, if they weren’t doing that, they were inside on their devices. Now, there are no sports games or extracurricular activities. And I’m guessing that after 4 months of being stuck inside, kids are growing tired of Netflix and video games. That’s right, it took a pandemic to bring kids back to the streets.
Instead of feeling annoyed, all of a sudden, we felt grateful. Then I got nostalgic. When I was a kid, after dinner my parents would kick us out of the house and we’d play outside until the bell rang - my mum would ring a bell when it was time to come in. Until we heard that bell, we would spend the whole evening playing outside with all our friends from the neighborhood. That's what was happening right now. There have always been kids in our neighbourhood. They were just not playing together. Nobody was even speaking. There was just... neighbors living in an individual world. Everybody was doing their own thing and kids were spending most of their time online. Now every time I look down our back alley, there are chalk drawings on the asphalt and a spillage of toys. And oh my goodness, you should see their set up. They have little bike games going with slalom courses and everything! It looks like so much fun. Needless to say, we ended up reopening our door and letting the fresh air in, but our real joy came from letting the children's laughter in.
That was a big reframe for us. By putting another label on it an annoying noise turned into a sound that brought smiles to our faces and memories to our hearts. Instead of triggering us and sending 1400 negative chemicals into our body to pollute us, now the same sounds triggered serotonin and oxytocin, the body’s “happy and feel good chemicals”. All of a sudden, I was able to continue playing cards with my husband with the door wide open. Somehow the sounds from outside didn’t annoy me anymore. They actually made me feel good. All it took was a pandemic and a change of perspective.
What’s in your life that’s causing you to feel annoyed? Is it a pet peeve or something else that just seems to get under your skin? What do you feel when somebody cuts you off on the highway? Do you get angry and start feeling negative? What if you imagined their wife is pregnant and he was rushing her to the hospital for the early arrive of twins? Would that thought make you feel different? Of course it would. Do you know why he cut you off? No. So why not assume something positive? You could have a lot of fun with this! You could come up with all sorts of fun, wild, creative scenarios to trigger your brain chemistry in a positive way. Imagine arriving at your destination filled with all those “happy and feel good chemicals”. Just take a minute and reframe like we did. It really is that simple. YOU are in charge of the way you feel. Go on, give it a try!