Calm Decisions

For several weeks our new neighbors were bothering me. They live across the way and stay up late and talk loudly. They watch movies and talk over the movie to each other, oblivious to the many neighbors around here who are sleeping and because it is summer, everyone has their windows open.

I had asked them to please keep it down, and they would for awhile, but then they forgot, and I think, after a few beers, it is easy to forget to be quiet.

So last week, I called the cops. He came out and warned those guys they were making too much noise and next time they'd all get a 250 dollar fine. They said, "What noise?" They had no idea. They are three college boys rooming together.

They have been quieter, but still staying up late and talking loudly. One night a couple days ago, I was up late and they were making their usual sounds, disturbing the quiet night. I felt upset by it. I was angry at them for giving me something to have to deal with. I could let it go, but it kept disrupting me. I was trying to read and kept getting distracted. Occasionally the three of them would burst out laughing at the same time, startling me.

So I turned on the sound of a cascading waterfall to temporarily block their sounds and meditated for about twenty minutes. When I was feeling very relaxed, I thought about what I could do and came up with a solution.

The next day when I saw two of them out on their porch, I had a conversation with them, told them what was going on with me, and said I heard the cop talking to them and I think 250 dollars is awfully harsh, and I had a better solution: How about they give me their phone number? Then rather than calling the cops, I could just call them. One of the guys said, "Sure." He gave me his name and number. They apologized for making noise, and thanked me for my solution! I actually made a couple of friends. I've had to call them only a few times and they quieted down right away. It was a good solution I might only have made in a state of deep calm.

Make this a rule: Make decisions and initiate actions only when you are very calm.

At other times, when you feel yourself stressing, do nothing, say nothing, until you can get yourself to a quiet room where you can meditate or deeply relax in some way. Afterwards, when you're in a state of deep calm, then make your decision or initiate an action if that's what you decide to do.

Adam Khan is the author of Antivirus For Your Mind: How to Strengthen Your Persistence and Determination and Feel Good More Often and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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