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Blog

Operation Be Less Grumpy

Amber Adrian

This morning, I woke up super grumpy.

It probably has a lot to do with waking up at one in the morning several nights in a row and not going back to sleep until around 5:30 and being woken up 90 minutes later by obnoxious noises. (I felt bad for momentarily hating people who were just doing their job, but power saws before 8 a.m. inspire deep hostility in the under-slept and under-caffeinated.)

As I walked downtown to get some coffee and a waffle with more sugar than is good for me, I decided to revel in the grumpy. Resisting the grumpy tends to make me even crankier, but sinking into it like a warm bath helps. Exaggerating the grump always makes me feel like the curmudgeonly old muppet hecklers, and that’s just funny.

But when your baseline for the day is set at Cranky Jerk, it takes a bit more effort to keep yourself from creating more Grump-tastic situations. (I already failed at the coffee shop by taking someone else’s drink which made the drink maker person cranky which - curse of the empath - made me have to fight off their cranky along with my own.)

My best tactic for shifting into a higher state - whether it’s up a few notches from cranky or fear or whatever human experience I’m swimming in - is looking around and noticing the small, lovely details around me.

Steam rising off my chamomile citrus tea. A gnarled old tree reaching its branches toward the sky. The silky black and white puppy straining against its leash on the sidewalk outside. My pink jeans. A striking girl in an outfit I’m certain she just threw on, but still looks like she stepped out of a magazine that sells beard oil and single source coffee beans. Sun glinting through the redwood trees. The clock on the square that’s been there since 1926. The preponderance of pumpkin coffee now that the calendar says autumn. Giraffes on my phone case.

It really helps, whether I’m trying to feel happier or more abundant or more taken care of or just less grumpy.

If that doesn’t work, I walk to this:

0-1.jpg

Being as cranky when you walk away from this as when you walked toward it is statistically impossible. That’s just science.