I don’t have this problem but one of my friends does. I was talking to him about the grocery store checkout line problem with the pile of candy and how I coped with that. The solution turned out to be easy to do and remarkably effective. Our conversation then evolved, or devolved if you prefer, into how to cope with his morning grouches.

The first thing for coping with being grumpy is to acknowledge the problem, as was done with the pile of candy at the checkout line. Admit to your conscious self that you have an annoying feeling and say out loud to your inner self exactly what is going wrong with your world. For example say something like, “I’m still sleepy, the clock alarm radio is stupid, I don’t want to do anything today, the floor is cold, I have to pee, the furnace is making too much noise and it’s causing a draft,” and so on and on with whatever it is that is causing your grumpiness. You first have to acknowledge that you have a problem.

The exercise I am proposing is to prepare a habit of coping with your morning grumps right now, while reading this, by mentally thinking about those things and acknowledging that when getting up in the morning they annoy you. Having done that and after sitting here reading this blog post, close your eyes, think about each thing that is bothering you and say an appropriate comment about each one, such as, I may not be in control of the temperature of the floor at this moment but I am in control of how I emotionally feel about it. I can choose to let this inanimate object make me feel grumpy or I can choose to be in charge of my emotions and feel some other way, such as cheerful or fierce. It’s my choice and not the floor’s choice.

You can probably make that kind of statement about all the things that are making you feel grumpy, and when you acknowledge that they are annoying you but that you are in charge of how you feel about them, that you, and you alone, are responsible for how you feel, you can feel emotionally better, because you are in charge of your feelings.

You may not be able to do that in the morning because your old habit is to feel grumpy in those situations, but you can do it now. You are sitting in a comfortable chair and are not driven by work, or pee, to do anything. You have the thirty seconds it takes to go through that little exercise and at the end of it to physically smile for a couple of seconds. You even have time to do it a couple of times. Right now. … and smile. Furthermore, you can remember to do this little mental exercise a couple of more times over the next few hours and days. After you have done this seemingly inane task several times you will remember to do it when getting up in the morning and it will be easy. Without this mental practice to create the habit, it is hard to control these kinds of negative emotional states when barely awake, but when sitting here it is easy to mentally go through the cycle. So do it now. …

Mentally practice how you want to behave in problem situations when you are certain to be in control and certain to succeed. Now! …

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