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Annoyed with New York City? Here's how to cope.

Posted by 
Michelle Loucadoux
Michelle Loucadoux
 25 days ago

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Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

If you're a person who loves being annoyed, New York is the place to be. Unpredictable crowds, urine-scented subways, and five-story walk up apartments with no storage whatsoever could make some people lose their minds. But, New Yorkers are a special breed of people. They're resilient, they're tough, they're smart, and they put up with a lot of crap.

Sometimes, though, New York just becomes a little too much even for the most unflappable resident. Sometimes we’re just annoyed by everything and everyone. From stinky bathrooms to lazy people to large stagnant groups of tourists that completely block the sidewalk when you're running late to work, there are days when every little aspect of life grates on our nerves.

One of the most annoying parts of being annoyed is that scientists don’t really have a lot of information on what makes us annoyed. And that’s even more annoying.

There are just a few books and studies on how we become agitated. One of them is written by Joe Palca. In an article in National Geographic, Palca describes three attributes of things that annoy us:

  1. It must be noxious without being physically harmful.
  2. It must be unpredictable and intermittent.
  3. To be truly annoying, something has to persist for an uncertain period of time.

Yep. That’s it right on the money. When I'm trying desperately to get to work and people are standing in my way, it’s not physically harmful, it is unpredictable and intermittent, and it has been going on for years. It’s annoying!

But guess what? It’s also energy.

You may think that, as a self-improvement writer, I am going to tell you to turn your frown upside down and come up with some new agey mantra to catapult yourself into some version of peaceful relaxation. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to tell you to enjoy the terribleness. Wallow in it. It’s power.

Yes, our crappy moods are powerful. Annoyance is energy. Sure, it’s not the most positive energy, but let me tell you — I’ll take any kind of momentum these days. When I’m feeling like I want to punch a wall, I am beginning to realize that the best thing to do is to, well, go punch a wall.

When we’re in a bad mood, rather than suppressing our energy, one of the most productive things we can do is to use it. Momentum is momentum, y’all. Use your anger. Just channel it into something productive. Here are some great things to do when you’re annoyed with the world:

  • Vigorously do household chores like putting away the dishes (loudly)
  • Do something physical outside — mowing the lawn, washing the car, cleaning the garage, etc.
  • Go to an active workout class (or create your own). Kickboxing, boot camp, and spinning are great options

Here are some terrible things to do when you’re annoyed with everything:

  • Catch up on communication (emails or calls)
  • Make large life decisions
  • Go shopping (online or in-person)
  • Work with sharp objects (i.e. cooking, gardening, etc.)

All kidding aside, I’m here to tell you that everyone has their bad days. Everyone hears the proverbial nails down a chalkboard from time to time. When you’re annoyed, first of all, give yourself a break. Whether you're in New York City, Paris, Nairobi, or Small-Town America, annoyance is universal. We’ve all been there.

I encourage you, when you find yourself in an agitated state, find a way to channel that energy into something productive. Find a way to use that powerful energy for good. You never know — the win of accomplishing something might just launch you out of your funk.