Has life ever presented you with something you didn’t want? Perhaps a health issue, a money challenge or an obnoxious person? This column is about how to effectively deal with life’s daily irritants.

When faced with a life-threatening or dire situation, the majority of people fight for their survival. They become willing to change their behaviors and habits in order to improve their lives.

Daily annoyances, however, are another story. In a heartbeat they can trigger the worst in us. Negative behaviors and habits can escalate in a matter of seconds, and when they do, we often justify them. Then there’s the alluring temptation to dwell on them and wallow in self pity for days.

Rain and mud just covered your newly washed car. Dinner just exploded in the microwave. An out-of-the-blue excruciating toothache causes you to cancel your plans. You’re sleep deprived; yet the baby won’t stop crying. Unexpected expenses are staring you in the face.

However, everyday aggravations are just the golden opportunity you’ve been looking for to free yourself from the quicksand of habitual, negative and over-the-top reactions to those unexpected, maddening and infuriating situations.

Below are three simple techniques that when applied will lead you to a greater sense of peace in any life setting.

» Acceptance. Quit fighting your circumstance. Take deep breaths and calmly accept the situation in front of you. That neutralizes the energy behind the experience. It allows you to detach emotionally, therefore having better access to your intuition, which of course leads to solutions.

» Adaptability. So it’s not going according to your plan. You have a choice. Either you react or respond. Most of us have habitual reactions to life, which are ingrained down to the cellular level. When a cell divides, it produces a new cell — within the old pattern. To create a new pattern, be willing to “do it differently.” Slow down. Choose to see the best in the situation while changing your attitude, thoughts and behavior.

» Creativity. Now it’s time for not only new thinking but new tactics. You’re a creative person, so use it on your behalf. You’ve approached the situation with a calm attitude and have the willingness to respond reasonably. Now develop a positive strategy to apply to the situation.

A muddy car? When the sun comes out rewash the car — it’s good exercise. A ruined dinner? Laugh at the exploded baked potato and treat yourself to take-out. A toothache? Finally you’re seeing the dentist and your overall health will benefit. Sleep deprived? Ask grandma to keep the baby overnight. Unexpected expenses? Check your bank balance, pinpoint where you can cut back and communicate with the parties involved.

These may seem trite or obvious, but do you practice them daily? When you are willing to apply positive strategies to everyday issues, your life will improve in every area. They may even help to prevent larger catastrophes from happening. At least, if they do happen, you will be less overwhelmed by them.

A strategy is simply a plan to achieve a desired goal. Would you like better health, relationships, physical stamina, emotional stability, mental agility and overall peace of mind? Then don’t wait for a life-threatening situation to wake you from your complacency.

Use life’s petty annoyances to your advantage and welcome the opportunity to fly high above the drama of daily life. Trust me; it’s far more amusing to observe it from above then to be enslaved by its tentacles. Life is sweet but short. Free yourself now.

Susan Ann Darley is a creativity coach and business writer who works with entrepreneurs and artists from all disciplines to build, manage and market their careers. For more information, click here or contact her at susan@mindsetmanagement.net or 805.845.3036.