Sometimes in life, bad stuff happens – you’re stuck in traffic and late for work, you lose your wallet or you dent your car door.
Many people would approach these situations by blowing up, shouting obscenities and devoting all their energy to finding a way out of the situation. But in Japan, it might be more likely to be met by a ubiquitous phrase with a different meaning: shou ga nai.
This phrase, or a more formal variant, shikata ga nai, is often used in common situations that are generally negative but leave you no alternative but to get over it. Its loose English translation is “it can’t be helped”.
It might be worth stepping back in frustrating situations and asking yourself: what am I actually getting stressed about? Can I change it? If I can’t – why is it worth getting stressed over in the first place? And could this be an effective strategy to deal with frustration?The experts say it depends on the situation.
If it’s a one-off event with little consequence, then it’s a good strategy. But “when it’s a systemic problem – like you have a terrible boss that yells at you and demeans you, or a relationship partner who is abusive – these are cases where you maybe need to find a way to eliminate the structural problem,” says Stephanie Preston, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan.
Read the full article at BBC.