Some days, I confess, that I put my grumpy knickers on without realizing it. Every little thing seems to happen for the sole purpose of exacerbating my already grumpy mood.
All the traffic lights are on red when you’re in a hurry. You get stuck by the learner driver who must be having their very first lesson. You forget to set the timer for the cake you’re baking. The foxes that you normally love to see in the garden have pooped all over the lawn. Someone was late for a meeting, the meeting didn’t go as planned, you were late leaving work and now have to rush………………..and so it goes.
Things that you would normally not notice are there ….irritating you……… making you more grumpy…….more stressed……..which makes you more grumpy………which makes you more stressed………and so on.
Today was one of those days for me. Even the much needed walk on the beach wasn’t relaxing – it was more of a stomp along the sand rather than a walk. I was completely absorbed in my grumpiness.
Then something caught my eye. A little boy and his puppy, a German Shepherd puppy complete with uncontrollable ears and big floppy paws. Jumping in the waves, splashing, laughing in that completely carefree way that children and dogs have.
Totally present in the moment. Parents standing by, one filming, both laughing.
As I paused and stood watching, I too became absorbed in the moment.
It was a reminder that yes, life can be full of daily inconveniences and annoyances, but how we choose to handle them can contribute greatly to our stress or to our well-being.
Today, I’d forgotten about that choice. I’d allowed habitual, unconscious behaviour to take over. I’d allowed that spiral to begin and lead me to a point where all I could see were negatives. The pain in my back and hip and what I couldn’t do, how I hadn’t followed my eating plan as much as I’d wanted to that week, how much I was off track with my daily routines…………and so it goes on.
This brief interlude, this pull back into the present moment reminded me of my choice. There were so many things to be thankful for. Why was I focusing on things that weren’t helpful?
I went back to basics.
I asked myself what was the one thing that had resulted in me putting my grumpy knickers on that day? A poor night’s sleep. Well, that isn’t unusual for me. So I dug a bit deeper, it was the 4th consecutive poor night’s sleep. That was my focus when I got up, with all the negativity associated with it. On went the grumpy knickers and with them a determination to find all the reasons why this was a bad day! Don’t judge me – we’ve all done it haha.😂
As a result, I’ve developed a different strategy, my ‘too many poor night’s sleep’ strategy. 😁
1. Get up and move – change my environment then acknowledge my grumpiness and immediately list 5 things I’m thankful for.
2. Ask myself ‘what opportunity does this give me today?” The main one that comes to the fore is to practice more self-compassion.
3. Zoom out, widen my perspective if irritants arise throughout the day. Yes, I may be in pain as I walk along the beach, but I’m walking along the beach and it’s a glorious beach and I’m spoilt for choice with so many glorious beaches on my doorstep.
Just 3 things.
3 things that will move from an unhelpful state of stress and grumpiness to one of self-compassion, thankfulness and joy.
I balance this with my belief that we should always acknowledge our emotions rather than stuff them down. So it’s OK for me to feel grumpy about another bad night. I allow myself to feel it for a maximum of 5 minutes. What’s not OK, what’s not helpful, is for me to allow that grumpiness to hijack my whole day.
How do you deal with grumpiness? What is your go-to method?
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