Ugh! I’m grumpy. I woke up to heavy gloom outside and some blog-related frustrations that carried over from yesterday. But aside from those things, I really can’t point to a “good” reason for my mood. Yes, there’s all the bad stuff in the news, but that’s become a fairly reliable constant and doesn’t typically effect my mood. What gives?
Grumpy – to me – is lightly simmering anxiety covered in a really thick, bland sauce of stubborn, irrational irritation. Grumpy isn’t any fun to be around, for me or anyone else. What to do? What do you do when the grumpies strike?
I’m going to take accountability for how I’m feeling, and put some effort into feeling good. Let’s see if we can go from grumpy and tense to pleasantly relaxed by the end of this post, shall we? Care to join me? I could use some company.
10 Ways to Reset Your Mood
Before we attempt to cheer ourselves, let’s do a few things to set the stage for success.
First, let’s unplug. For the next few minutes, let’s agree to stay off of social media, and not to respond to incoming email, text messages or calls (unless, of course, there’s an emergency). If something requires your attention, tend to it now so you can give yourself a real mental break.
Second, let’s find a quiet place to sit and relax. For me, that means retreating to my bedroom. My husband and kids generally understand and respect my need for space when I close the door behind me. I’m so grateful for that.
Third, gather up whatever you’ll need to do this. That might include your phone, pen and paper, art or crafting supplies, or your favorite four-legged friend. A favorite blanket and a cup of comfort (stay clear of excess alcohol and caffeine!) can be great additions too.
Now let’s pick a few ideas from this list and get down to business.
Meditation is an incredibly powerful tool and has become my go-to for self-soothing and relaxation. It’s helped me manage depression and anxiety, achieve greater peace, tap into creativity, open up to forgiveness…you name it. It brings me to a quiet place of stillness and love, and consistently helps me release – at least in part – whatever is troubling me. I can’t say enough about the strength and impact of this practice.
My favorite way to meditate is with the Insight Timer app on my iPhone. Whether you’re new to meditation, or you’re an old pro, this app has something to offer you. I encourage you to give it a try. Today, I selected Amita Schmidt’s “Reset Your Nervous System” which was wonderfully peaceful and calming. Just one step into my reset and already feeling so much better.
A lot of people really struggle with affirmations, and I can appreciate it. It can feel really silly to sit there telling ourselves “I am strong, I am at peace, I am joyful, I am abundant.” But you know what? Affirmation works. Initially, it might feel a bit fake, but if you stick with it for a few weeks, you’ll begin to feel a shift in how you feel when you say (or listen to) your affirmation. When I first did them, I started out feeling very resistant. I was very depressed at the time and had a hard time believing they would make an impact for me. Imagine my surprise when just a few weeks into doing them, I found myself smiling a huge, genuine, heartfelt smile when I spoke the words “I am wonderful” as part of my morning routine.
If you’re new to practicing meditations, I recommend starting with something that’s guided to help you ease into it. This one, by The Honest Guys, is where I began and its something that I often return to for its comforting familiarity. Give it a try! I’ll do it with you.
Where do you feel most at-ease? Can you close your eyes and imagine yourself there? What do you see and feel? Do you smell or taste anything? Who are you with? What are you wearing? What do you have around you? With as much detail as you can, close your eyes and create a vivid experience of being there right now. Treat yourself to a mini vacation through the power of visualization.
Journaling is another powerful tool to help us release whatever is weighing us down, and to help us focus forward.
- If something is bothering you, write about it: the experience itself, your feelings about it, and – if you can – how you think you can navigate through the challenge to emerge stronger, wiser and more resilient. In every bad experience, there are seeds of growth and wisdom.
- Tap into the power of gratitude and list a few things that you’re grateful for. Write about why you’re grateful, and really lean into that feeling.
- Write down a quote that you love. Then write about why it inspires you and how you see (or wish to see) it manifest in your life.
- Set an intention to help you direct your energies into something you want to accomplish today. Consider keeping it fairly simple, to help ensure your success. And then when you make it happen, celebrate!
Immerse Yourself in Color
Several years ago, I began to notice that color had a strong emotional impact on me. Soft hues made me feel calm and peaceful. Bright, saturated tones made me feel energized and empowered. Dark shades had the power to make me feel deeply unsettled, and could even give me headaches in large doses.
In an effort to harness that power and with the help of Pinterest, I created a visual oasis for myself. I collected a bunch of beautiful, striking images that are vividly colorful and energizing. They make me feel really good every time I look at them. Feel free to visit my board, or, even better, create one for yourself. The very process of gathering the images can be at once soothing and energizing.
Sing Out Loud
It’s really hard to feel grumpy when you’re singing. Sing along with me? (I picked one with on-screen lyrics so you could!)
When’s the last time you played with crayons or makers? Painted a watercolor? Danced? Wrote a poem or a short story? Creative expression enables us to get out of our heads, and connect with ourselves in a less cerebral, more heart-centered way. Give yourself permission to get creative in whatever way appeals to you. Tell yourself, there is no right or wrong, there are no mistakes, there will be no judgement. And set your creative spirit free. Like singing, creativity can lift us from our foul mood and elevate our spirit.
Get Some Fresh Air
Fresh air, can change my state of mind in an instant. And sometimes all it takes is a walk to the mailbox or a few minutes of light yard work for my mood to shift. Something about being outside in nature is cleansing and grounding. As a moody teenager, I often went on walks to clear my mind. When I was in the corporate world and I needed to reset, a walk around the block was a really effective way to do that. Nowadays, as a stay at home mom, I don’t have the freedom to just walk away whenever I’m feeling frustrated, but I can almost always step out for at least a moment. It really helps.
Spend Time with Animals
My Boz passed away last May and we’ve yet to bring a new dog into the family. But there’s something about animals that can be so refreshing and healing. I believe they understand far more than we give them credit for. And their love and affection is so heartening and reassuring. If you have a pet, go find him or her and spend a few minutes cuddling, playing or talking with them (they are the BEST listeners!).
In the absence of Fur Family, I find myself much more attuned to the critters who surround my home. We feed the birds (and furry, four-legged critters, too) and I enjoy listening to and watching them. And you know what’s funny? They can be such jerks! Seriously! Do you ever watch them squabble and push one another off of the bird feeder? They can be greedy and self-centered…just like us. It’s amusing, and it somehow helps me have a more level-headed perspective on life and relationships.
Hugs are healing. Go find someone and ask for (or offer them) a hug. Seriously. Do it now. I’ll wait.
Share the Love
Do you feel better now? I sure do! It’s amazing that with just a little bit of personal accountability, focused intention, and effort, we have the power to sooth and uplift ourselves. Shifting out of grumpiness and into something better boils down to making a choice. In the end, it’s all about patience, self-respect, and self-love. For more ideas, check out these loving practices I wrote about for Valentine’s Day.
How do you shift your energy when you find yourself in a grumpy mood? Share your favorite mood boosters below.
Before We Go
Being grumpy is one thing, but being depressed, grieving, or truly struggling with a significant life challenge are different experiences entirely. While the ideas here may provide some relief to you, you may require more help. If you’re feeling grumpy, sad, frustrated, angry, tired, or otherwise unsettled for a prolonged period, you may need the support of a professional to help you sort things out. Please reach out for the help you need, knowing that we all need it sometimes, and that healing and happiness are possible and within reach. Hugs.