You know those times when everything seems to go wrong—where one problem or emergency is followed by another and another? How do you normally respond in those situations? Is it with anger, frustration, rage?

I know I don’t like those times. But if I’m honest, often I get frustrated over items that are relatively small in the larger scope of life. An appliance breaks, someone gets sick, the computer stops working, a pipe starts to leak. Inconvenient? Yes. But what will I think about these things a few years from now? Will I even remember them?

The problem is in the moment these things don’t feel small. Especially when there are several in a row. The first may not be a big deal, but by the second or third or fourth, everything begins to feel bigger than it is.

Looking at it from a broader perspective, though, can bring the relative importance of what you’re experiencing into focus. A month from now, a year from now, ten years from now, how will you think about what you’re going through right now? Will it seem as big and significant as it feels today? Will you still be frustrated or angry? Or are you experiencing the kinds of things you may even laugh about sometime down the road?

Because if you’re experiencing the kinds of things you’ll either forget about or be able to laugh about later, why get so agitated today? In the moment they feel bigger than they are. But getting upset won’t make things better. It usually just makes the situation feel much more stressful than it need be.