How a Delayed Flight Helped Me Conquer Frustration and Stress

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It was nearly a 100 degree Friday afternoon and as I’ve done every month for over two years, I was headed to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

I waited patiently at Gate 31 in Terminal E to board flight 869 which would take me to Los Angeles to see my kids – this trip is the highlight of my month.

Thirty minutes prior to boarding, the gate agent’s voice cracks as she announces, “Attention passengers: if you’re traveling on Spirit flight 869 en route to Los Angeles, your flight has been delayed. The aircraft needs additional cleaning.”

The tension in the terminal immediately escalates – I hear groans and mumbling from disgruntled passengers – people are getting pissed.

It is in these moments that our patience is tested and willpower developed.

The temptation to pout and whine is all too real, but using these moments to practice patience will prepare you to handle life’s biggest challenges that will inevitably come your way.

5 Tips to Conquer Frustration and Stress

1) Go for a walk

Exercise burns off stress hormones that accumulate in your system, and you’ll be more able to engage your patience muscle. Even 10 minutes can reset your stress response.

2) Count to 10

The old advice really works – it gives you a chance to reset your brain and remember what really matters. If it doesn’t work the first time, repeat. Eventually you’ll get over it.

3) Daydream

This works well when waiting causes you to be impatient. Visualize the most peaceful place you can think of; see, feel, and hear yourself there.

I visualize my future gunmetal Nissan GT-R with black leather interior; I’m driving south on I-35 to nowhere trying to keep it under 120. I can hear the turbocharger’s blow-off valve release with each gear shift which is barely audible over Imagine Dragons’, Whatever It Takes coming out of the speakers.

What flight delay?

4) Practice short meditations

Use a light, ringing phone or other focal point as a signal to stop and notice your breath. Simply paying attention to your breathing can immediately calm you down.

5) 150,000

Over 150,000 people opened their eyes yesterday, but didn’t today – they’re no longer with us. If we’re lucky, it will be due to old age after a full life, but many times it’s illness, an accident, or just shitty luck.

If this isn’t enough to put a minor inconvenience such as a travel delay in perspective, I don’t know what can.

I landed safely in Los Angeles, was able to hold my kids, and we had a blast – everything else is just noise.

Be present and enjoy each day because we WILL be 1 of the 150,000 someday.

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”Buddha

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes! And if you’re a quote junkie like me, check out 17 Unique Quotes About Gratitude.