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It's All the Rage: Intolerance of the Little Things

March 05, 2001|From Hartford Courant

Road rage, air rage, desk rage. Gym rage, grocery-cart rage, parking-lot rage. Rain rage (watch it with that umbrella, jerk!), barking-dog rage.

"It isn't the big things in life that make us cranky. It's the buildup of little things, day after day, that get to us," says C. Leslie Charles, author of a self-help book, "Why Is Everyone So Cranky?" (Hyperion, $22.95).

Crankiness due to time (lack of) and technology (too much of) is at the root of America's rage, she says. Take your cell phone, pager and Palm, for instance. You bought them for convenience. But now, you are interrupted any time, anywhere, over little things that add up to a constant feeling of urgency, emergency and overload.

"Technology has made life so convenient, we've lost our tolerance for inconvenience," Charles says. We've become, it seems, a nation with the attention span of a 2-year-old. Charles has a prescription for chilling out. Before you buy the latest gadget (or puppy, for that matter), ask yourself: "Does this simplify or complicate my life?"

She also recommends doing something every day to "ease the pressure"--ranging from counseling (if you're really miserable and don't want to stay that way the rest of your life) to turning off the cell phone, having a no-TV night with the family or using the car as a "decompression chamber."

"Have two drives home. If you've had a really horrible day, choose the longer route instead of the freeway," she says.

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