Sending Grumps Packing
Okay, right off the bat, I apologize for the title of this post. You don’t exactly snap yourself out of a bad mood. The wording makes it sound as simple as Samantha on Bewitched twitching her nose (how cute was it when she did that?). However, “How to Will Yourself Out of a Bad Mood by Refusing to Succumb to it’s Ill Will” sounded a little highfalutin to me.
If you’re reading this..
- You are already in a rotten mood
- You’re anticipating a rotten mood
- You read me on a regular basis… Have I told you lately how much I love you?
Even if you’re in the wonderfully sexy and charismatic last group, hopefully you can get something out of this. File it away to share with someone else when they’re in a crummy mood and spewing bad vibes on your fabulousness.
Step One: Acknowledge the Bad Mood
Don’t overlook this one! This is actually the most important step and here’s why: The Acknowledgement Step is a step upward. NOT acknowledging the bad mood is a step downward. When we fail to acknowledge a bad mood, we start throwing garbage around:
- We blame others (always a bad move)
- We point our finger and wrath at God (an even worse move)
- We find multiple faults with ourselves, some of which don’t even exist (also not a lot of fun)
If we fail to label our bad mood as just that – A BAD MOOD – we begin a downward spiral which only gains momentum. For one thing, we run the risk of starting arguments with people around us. When we’ve managed to tick off everyone in reach, our world goes from bad to worse. However, when we acknowledge that we’re in a nasty mood, we’ll be more apt to keep a watch on our tongue, expressions, and actions. We’ll think, Must control the beast!
Admitting it is half the battle. It’s true about just about everything, isn’t it? So why do we have so much trouble stepping up and admitting what’s surely obvious?
We hate to admit that we’re less than perfect. After all, perfect people don’t have bad moods, right? WRONG! It’s only human to have a bad mood from time to time. Even cats get in bad moods every now and then and they have the life of royalty. One of my cats, Hannah, was in a mood a few days ago. She wore it all over her face! I wish I’d taken a picture because, I swear, it looked like she wore a scowl all day. I gave her extra treats, tons of head scratches, and did all within my power to keep her world extra lovely.
It made me think about those of us who are mere mortals, we’re pretty much the same way Hannah was that day – nothing suits us.
When you find yourself wearing such a scowl, do yourself and everyone around you the biggest favor in the world: ACKNOWLEDGE the foul mood. Call it out.
Step Two: Switch Lanes
My husband and I were taking a trip not long ago and a young woman (on a cellphone) in our lane was driving kind of erratic. She’d go super fast, then she’d crawl. She’d swerve, then she’d swerve back. My husband, who wasn’t trying to wreck his new car, switched lanes and proceeded to put as much distance between himself and the unpredictable wild driver. The smaller she got in the rear view mirror, the better we felt. Though I did say an extra prayer that someone’s daughter would make it to her destination safely. As a mother of three someone’s daughters, I also prayed that someone’s police officer would put the fear of God into her about texting while driving before she got herself or someone else hurt or killed.
When we’re driving, we don’t hesitate for a second to switch lanes. We pop that turn signal on and off we go. We live in a rural part of Kentucky, so we often do the pop and go to get around farm equipment… with a smile and a wave, of course. Never let it be said that Southerners aren’t polite.
When we’re in a bad mood, the first thing we have to do after acknowledging the problem is to switch lanes. We have to have enough sense to realize that the lane we’re in is an accident waiting to happen. This is where we have to make up our minds to pop and go – pop on the turn signal and go, out of the lane we’re in and into another one.
The smaller the bad mood gets in our rear view mirror, the better.
Ways to Switch to the Right Lane
- Do something constructive. Yesterday, after hours of working online (and on the heels of my vehicle having to have a couple hundred dollars work), I found myself building up to a pretty rotten mood. I got up from the computer and cleaned the bathrooms and vacuumed the house. I don’t know if it was the physical activity or the result of accomplishing something, but the rotten mood faded almost immediately. Very often, just being able to look at something you’ve done and feel good about it makes a big difference.
- Get some fresh air. A change of scenery often does the trick.
- Get some activity, such as a walk. If you can walk outdoors, you’ve nailed the first three items in this list! You’ve done something constructive (exercise) while getting fresh air and physical activity. Yay, you!
- Bake something. It doesn’t matter if it’s cookies, cupcakes, or bread – it’s almost impossible to feel grumpy when you’re baking. The aroma, alone, chases off the grumps.
- Shop Therapy! Come on, let’s not kid ourselves, nothing says happy quite like a new kitchen gadget, nail polish, or purple top. Or golf balls, a new novel, or pair of shoes. It doesn’t matter what floats your boat, it’s fun to shop. I suppose there’s something to be said for “window shopping” but returning home without a bag kind of seems depressing to me.
- Watch a sitcom. Escaping into 30 minutes of fun and laughter is a great mood lifter. I Love Lucy, Sanford and Son, Andy Griffith, King of Queens, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Big Bang Theory… countless good times just waiting to happen. Lucy has seen me through a lifetime of ups and downs. After I lost my mom, I prescribed myself a daily dose of Lucy. Lucy’s my comfort zone. A while back, after some particularly hideous dental work, my family knew where to find me – in Lucy and Ricky’s apartment with a bucket full of KFC Mashed potatoes and gravy.
- Read a book. Again, the escapism is key. Remember, you’re trying to switch lanes here. Switching lanes means getting up from and away from where you are.
- Search for your favorite comedians on You Tube. Bill Cosby and Dane Cook don’t just make my sides ache from laughing, they leave them positively sore. David Letterman’s Top Tens are also a million laughs.
- When in doubt, reach for the chocolate. I’m surprised that this is so far down the list, actually, since it’s always my first line of defense. Then again, chocolate is my first line of defense (or offense) every single day of my life. TRUE STORY: I once made “Eat chocolate every single day” a New Year’s Resolution because I knew this way I’d at least keep one resolution. So, I’ve made this resolution every year since and have always been able to say that I’ve kept at lease one resolution with the faithfulness of the Amish.
- Another great, never-fails pick me up is a clean one: Take a bath or shower. Again, I’m not sure WHY this works, but it does. I dunno, maybe it’s the thrill of seeing yourself naked, the experience of comfortable water, or the change in temperature. Maybe it’s a little of all three. A great bath or shower kind of erases the slate, doesn’t it? You get out, dry off, and it’s almost like you have a new start. Love it.
- Do something (or even just say something) nice for someone else. When you make someone else smile or laugh, you feel their joy multiplied by ten. Besides, we’d all much rather spread joy than grumpiness.
- Spend time doing something you dearly love. We all have times or places that cause us to think, “This is soooooo me.” When you feel a bad mood coming on, get yourself to this place immediately! If it’s reading while curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee, put everything else on hold and pick up your book. If it’s surfing the internet, reading your favorite blogs and visiting your favorite websites – have at it. If it’s lying in the floor watching sports, The History Channel, or I Love Lucy with your cat (can you say Heaven?) – grab the remote control and escape.
- Pet your cat, dog, guinea pig, hamster, horse, pig, reptile, bird, or chinchilla. Or whatever pet you happen to share your world with. Do you even pet reptiles? Pets bring so much love and happiness into our lives. I honestly can’t imagine life without my cats. Even when they’re in a mood and wear a scowl – still wish I had a picture.
- The best advice I can possibly give you for improving your mood? Pizza. Works every single time.
When you’re in a bad mood, you aren’t yourself. A bad mood causes you to lose your center. The only way to get it back is to get out there and find it! Sitting around stewing or lashing out at everyone you come into contact with will only make it worse. Switch lanes before you run over someone or someone puts you into the rails.
If you’re in a bad mood right now, go have a little chocolate. If you’re in a good mood right now, go have a little chocolate.
Make each moment count double!
- Joi… if you’re looking for me this evening, check every pizza restaurant – I will surely be in one. The picture above has hit me with intense, intense cravings.