How to recognize if you are a grouch

A while ago I talked about keeping other people’s negative energy at bay through meditation. Well today I want to talk about how to recognize when YOU are being the grouch!

Classic clues that you maybe acting like a grouch

  1. Do the people around you seem like they are being too darned cheerful?
  2. When people are being too darned cheerful, do you feel you have to “bring them back to reality” by letting them know about some of the bad stuff going on?
  3. Do you tend to watch a lot of news? (I will explain this later)
  4. Do you find people are always trying to tell you that the glass really is half full, not half empty?
  5. Does noise seem to stress you out more than it stresses other people out?
  6. Do you hear yourself (practice actually listening to  the words you use) saying “Yeah, but” when people mention something they think is fun to you?
  7. Is your first response when you are considering a new opinion usually to think about all the things that might be wrong with it?

If you answered yes to more than one two of these read on! (This is by no means an exhaustive list, but you get the idea.)

Three De-grouchifying tactics

If you only have the occasional bout of grouchiness, the tactics below can help you appear to be less grouchy and more importantly FEEL less grouchy 🙂 (If feeling grouchy has become a way of life you might want to work on developing longer term coping mechanisms.)

  • When people are being too darned cheerful tell yourself “I hope it is contagious, I would like to catch some of that”. By being open to temporarily changing your outlook you can share few minutes of good cheer. Even a couple of minutes of good cheer can lighten the mood for a whole day.
  • Don’t watch so much news! It paints a horrific picture of the world because drama entices people to watch the newscast. It also sells newspapers.
    • Have you ever noticed that when the news does report something positive it is usually prefaced with something dreadful? Even good news stories have to have an element of “drama”.
    • Every picture of disaster stays in your memory, creating ongoing negative emotional impact every time something reminds you of that picture. Each of those photos have a little negative charge because we are social creatures and usually feel empathy for people in distress.
    • If a total news fast seems too drastic try setting aside one day a week when you do not watch or read any news. That is a 14% improvement right there.
  • HUMOUR! When I realize that I’m are feeling and acting grouchy I often resort to humour. Laughter is one of my favorite tools. This is a topic I will write about again because it I find it is so useful for dealing with stress, in the meantime here is one technique I use when I realize that I am overreacting.
    • Exaggerate how bad the situation could have been (to yourself not out loud), I mean REALLY exaggerate it, to the point that it is goofy. Say for example you put your coffee cup down on some important papers and it left a bit of a ring.
    • Visualize that cup was full of coffee and it tipped over making the papers unreadable, and it fell on the floor splashing coffee all over the carpet and you, AND it bounced up and splattered across the furniture in the room! OH NO! it scared the dog and now you have another smellier mess to clean up, AND your mother in law choose to drop in unannounced right now.
    • NOW, take a deep breath and say to yourself “I guess I can handle a little ring on the paper”
    • The idea is that by exaggerating it to the point of craziness it will either trigger a smile at how silly it is or, it will trigger  a feeling of relief. Either way it is better than what you were feeling 🙂

To your health!

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