How to Un-Crankify Yourself7:00 AM
So ya know how sometimes you just feel “off?” A little cranky, a little upset, a little down, but you’re not even exactly sure why. You are upset. You feel like complaining. You are having a bad day, except the bad day just started a few minutes ago. Today, I’m talking about how to UN-crankify yourself. Because there’s no reason to be miserable if you can help it, right?
Go back to the beginning. a ‘la The Princess Bride (Vizzini says to go back to beginning!). Moving on from classic movie quotes. When I’m feeling cranky, I have to go back to the first thing that made me feel bad. Sometimes it was the news story I read about children getting hurt or modern-day slavery or political war – in all honesty, a good percentage of my crankyness has to do with negative news coverage. Hence the reason I’m dialing back my media reading. It’s just not worth the effort. Sometimes I’m cranky because of things I see on social media – I worry about friends, their families, their choices. I take on their problems in my head and it makes me wonder--why do so many people put negative things on social media? It’s like they want everyone else to be miserable like them--- which is selfish. Also, a good reason for me to dial back my social media consumption. I have been willingly taking on the burdens of others, and it’s unnecessary. Sometimes I go back to the beginning and I’m worrying about something that happened at work, or if I can schedule an event in my calendar when it should be, or I’m remembering something bad that happened to friends, or I’m just dreading going to Walmart at rush hour (don’t laugh—Walmart always puts me in a bad mood. People are crazy). I have learned that I have to figure out what the source of my frustration is, before I can address it.
Read a Psalm. Or any Scripture, really. I like to go over Psalm 23 in my head. A) because I memorized it as a teenager and it rolls around in my thoughts easily, and B) there are some very simple, profound truths in it. “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul..” Usually, that’s where I stop because wow, that’s enough Truth to kill my bad mood any day. Let’s take a look – The Lord is my shepherd! He’s the one who leads me, protects me, binds up my wounds, holds me, helps me, and ultimately cares for me. What do I have to worry about? I shall not want. His provision is complete. Perfect. He even provides me with joy, when I don’t feel happy. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He takes me to good, lush, beautiful places. He leads me beside still waters. He directs me to a place of peace. He restores my soul. Oh yes, the Lord restores my soul. He puts me back together. He makes me back into a joyful, restful, wonderful state. Because He can do that, and He wants to do that for me.
Go to Bed Early. Here’s a non-spiritual, common-sense solution to most of your problems (slightly facetious over here… and slightly not). Sometimes I am cranky because I didn’t get enough sleep. It’s nice to get stuff done and it’s nice to stay up late and ‘relax,’ but the fact is that without good sleep in the proper quantity, it will just make tomorrow miserable. So do yourself a favor---just go to bed. The sun will come up tomorrow, and your mood will be better. Workout. Working out releases endorphins. Studies have shown that working out actually makes you happier. Weird, eh? I’m not even telling you to spend three hours in the gym like the meathead gym rat guys --- just go for a walk (fresh air is nice, too!) or do some jumping jacks and pushups or stretch on the living room floor. Just MOVE and you’ll be surprised at how much that movement makes you less cranky than you were before. :)
Do the Exact Thing that You Were Avoiding. A few weeks ago, I sat down and finally dealt with that mountain of unmatched socks that had been taunting me for a good long time. It took me maybe 45 minutes (there were A LOT of socks), but at the end, I felt the most ridiculous sense of relief. It sounds silly, but that task was adding to my daily frustration because every day I would see that laundry basket and felt like an instant failure. Now maybe it’s not socks. Maybe it’s organizing the Tupperware cabinet (that’s on my list) or sending an email that you’ve been avoiding or having a tough conversation or scrubbing the bathtub… just do it. You’ll be glad you did.
Eat Chocolate. Just a Little Bit. What? THIS IS A GREAT PLAN. Eating a little bit of dark chocolate has been proven to improve your mood. It makes me happy anyway (as I crunch on dark chocolate.YUM) . And that’s what this is really about. :P
Live in the Present. My husband says that I like to say “don’t borrow trouble.” I didn’t realize that it had become my mantra until he repeated it back to me. Sometimes we start talking about the future and get to worrying about things that are not in our control and that’s not right. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.” It’s the wisdom of the Word (Matthew 6:34). When our thoughts of the future (or the past) become an obsession so that it steals our joy today, we know that our perspective is wrong. I know that we serve a good God, who has directed our paths so perfectly and has already been to our future and continually gives us direction. Worry is futile. It is imperative to kick crankiness out, especially when that crankiness is because of worry, and be focused on living in the present.
Our days are gifts from God – let’s enjoy them.