Many of us are familiar with the kinds of experiences that can completely absorb our attention and give rise to overwhelming feelings of frustration, anger, and anxiety:
A heated and unresolved argument with a colleague, family member, or friend that leaves you both feeling unsettled.
Final exams that you don’t quite feel ready for.
A job interview that you can’t help but replay and analyze.
Following these events, the passing of time and power of hindsight also tend to offer the re-realization that life goes on and that there are More Important Things.
More Important Things are things that, in the grand scheme, you realize are what give life an enduring sense of meaning and fulfillment. These things might include your family, your close friendships, the beautiful park you walk by every week that manages to look serene every day of the year, access to safe shelter, access to nourishing food, and so on.
When you are on the verge of being subsumed by the heat of a distressing moment, you may be surprised by how quickly a situation can be defused when you take a moment to turn your attention towards not what appears to matter the most in the moment, but what past experience has taught you will matter in the end.