Sometimes it takes something traumatic to make us see that most of the stuff we are so worried about isn't important at all.

My son recently broke the bones in his forearm. Snapped them right in two. I hear shouts, and I look outside to see my son holding his arm up at the elbow, but a few inches down his arm dangles there like a broken tree branch, limp and lifeless.

For a moment, I am puzzled. How does a person suffer that kind of injury and yet be standing in front of me, talking? How is he not on the ground unconscious or - at the very least - shrieking? How is he simply there, staring at me, with a wrinkled brow and the same bewildered expression that I must be giving him?

Before we heard my son's call, my husband and I had been inside, hashing out all of the dramas of daily life: birthday party plans, income tax payments, redecorating decisions, vacation ideas, what to do about our money and the lack thereof.

We can all probably remember a time when we were engulfed in our own worries and then were suddenly and summarily shaken free by something. Often it's some sort of news, usually bad, which puts everything immediately into perspective. We forget everything else while we get on with the business of surviving.

I wish I could live, all the time, with that sort of acute understanding of what's really important. Doing so would help me to slow down, to appreciate those around me, to bond more deeply with others, to live from a place of love and kindness rather than sinking, as I sometimes do, into pettiness and spite.

And just as a true drama makes us sit up and take notice of what's important in our lives, it also informs us of ways to get through the little daily things we have to deal with: things that can pile up and be more wearying than those big, adrenaline-charged catastrophes.

Since my son's accident, I feel as though I've been using the big drama in my life to teach me how to better cope with the tiny, daily dramas.

Here's what I've been doing:

1. It helps me, in dramas large and small, to make the sound of the ocean with my breath. Whenever I need to focus on my breath, it calms me so much to make that deep, resonant whisper sound the way they teach you to do in yoga class. I direct my breath at the back of my throat, and listen to the sound of the force and power of my own breathing, there inside my head.

I imagine sitting near the ocean with my feet in the sand and the sun sizzling my skin and the scent of salt and earth and the rhythmic, predictable ebb and flow of the ocean. This helps me recognize, in case I'd forgotten, that my body and my mind are made of the same stuff as this ground and this ocean and that I have the power and the resources to get through whatever it is. What's more, I can help others get through it.

2. Of course, breathing will only get you so far. At some point, you have to stand up and do what needs to be done. Doing something – anything - can help you stop idly thinking and ruminating and dramatizing, which rarely comes to good end.

At times, the best thing to do is ignore the problem and go about your day. At times, the best thing to do is to look at just a tiny portion of the problem - and do what you can. In Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott gives the budding writer some advice: keep a one-inch picture frame on your desk to remind you that, really, all you need to do is focus on a bit, a snippet, of the whole story. Just "fill the frame," she says, and don't worry about the rest just now.

I find that this really works, in writing and in life. It's one of the easiest ways to prevent the crushing, motivation-sucking feeling of overwhelm. As you go along in your day, all you need to do is focus on one little bit of the problem. Look at what you can do today, right now, to help yourself.

Sometimes that's as simple as smiling at the next person who walks by, as simple as doing something unexpected and kind for yourself or others. Sometimes it's just sucking it up and making the phone call you've been dreading. Just dial the number, and take it one one-by-inch frame at a time.

3. Change your mind. The ability to adopt a more positive mental outlook in any situation is a skill that serves us well in all the years of our lives. It's stale advice, I suppose, to suggest that you focus on your gratitudes, but it's during moments of Big Drama when you realize how powerful this advice really is.

As my son lies in the emergency room, for example, I think about the magnificence of a country where my son can break his arm in two and, within an hour or two, be fixed with plates, pins and screws by a highly trained specialist in a sterile environment. And, while we wait, a team of other caregivers will make sure my son is as comfortable as possible, using physical, emotional, and pharmaceutical means. Highly educated, caring people will stand by and monitor him to make sure his condition and pain don't further deteriorate. That's amazing. Truly, ridiculously amazing.

There are so many things to be grateful for in all of our lives. All the time. Spending five minutes to focus on these simple, wonderful always-taken-for-granted things during moments of high (or low, constant) drama will almost always make us feel better.

Each time I undergo a family crisis or a health scare, it's the little simple things that wake me up to the love I have for the entire world. Things like the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. My ability to run and my ability to stretch and smile and embrace.

Even the gift of a familiar routine - baking a casserole or a loaf of pumpkin bread for someone who's hurting or doing the dishes and helping with chores after a friend has suffered a tragedy. Each of these things is a blessed little gift, if we recognize it as such.

If you need help visualizing these items, make a collage of things that make you happy and make you smile. Take 10 minutes right now and make a list of things that make you want to jump for joy. Simple things. My list includes everything from reruns of Seinfeld and My Name is Earl to the ability to get out in the woods and run with a friend for an hour. Also on the list: peach ice cream, pomegranates and really good hand lotion.

Keep your list or collage of simply-happy-things close to your heart. You are luckier than you know and more loved than you can imagine.

Author's Bio: 

Susanna writes an inspirational blog and she serves as an online daily deals curator at Susies-Coupons.com and New Coupons and Deals.