Do you ever find yourself grumpy? If that’s the only word you can use to describe it, you might need a few ways to perk up—and quickly, if you have a social function to go to this evening. According to therapist Julie de Azevedo Hanks, “people are born with constellations of personality traits and dispositions that, when coupled with experience, can lead to a less than agreeable disposition.”
Believe it or not, if you’re moody or pessimistic, you might actually have a health advantage. According to Hanks, pessimistic older adults tend to have increased longevity and are less likely to have a disability. People who tend to lean toward pessimism also might use negative thinking as a motivational strategy, and “while they may be a drag to be around, they may actually be trying to improve themselves,” she says.
But if you’re ready for a mood turnaround, here are 5 ways to “un-grouch a grump.”
Schedule a specific time to be grumpy. According to Hanks, scheduling five minutes to be miserable and going to the “dark side” might help you control it, since “sometimes your inner grouch just needs some attention and then it will have less influence.”
Be silly. This might not always be easy to do, but Hanks suggests reconnecting with a child-like joy by doing something silly, like jumping in the fall leaves or in rain puddles, or taking the time to blow bubbles.
Be kind. Doing something kind for someone else can change your mood instantly, whether you pay a parking lot fee for the car behind you, or drop off some fresh flowers for a neighbor. According to Hanks, random acts of kindness can overshadow your inner grouch in no time.
Pick a name for your grouch. According to Hanks, “giving that grumpy part of you a name may help to validate your feelings while at the same time helping you to distance from it.” She also recommends remembering that negative thoughts and feelings might be part of your experience at times, but they are not you.
Be kind—to your gut. According to Dr. Ramsey, “there’s not a lot of data, but I think there’s a notion now that one thing that contributes to mood is having a healthy gut. If someone is grumpy and they eat a bad diet their digestion is affected; they may have reflux or irregular bowel movements.” He suggests yogurt as a helpful remedy.
While these 5 steps to a better mood might help, it’s important to pay attention to whether your grumpiness affects the high moments in life or not. If it does, a visit to the doctor might be in order. According to Dr. Ramsey, “certainly there are people with temperaments that are slightly more ‘grouchy,’ but anytime someone has trouble seeing any positivity in the world—that does merit a closer evaluation to determine if they are depressed.”
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.
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