I admit it–I struggle with chronic grouchines. That might surprise you as generally, I’m cheerful. That’s because I’ve learned to dig beneath the irritability to the root causes. Here are ten reasons you’re a grouch and 10 things you can do about it.
*Chronic fatigue and pain. It’s easy to confuse these with irritability. I have severe sleep apnea, arthritis, scoliosis, tendinitis and carpal tunnel. I don’t sleep well. Speaking from a lifetime of chronic pain and exhaustion, it’s debilitating. Research pain and sleep issues, seek out treatments and therapies.
* Overwork, under-play (that’s a word). My husband works 6-7 nights a week. We’re on opposite schedules. We have a busy family and are remodeling an elderly, rundown home. I notice right away when we’re over doing it-we fight and snap. We’re not upset with each other. We’re stressed, tense and in need of respite.
* Disordered thinking. Does it seem everyone else gets what you deserve? Do you feel cheated? Less important? Too important? Unworthy? Entitled? We all feel these occasionally. Dwelling in it’s the problem. And low self-esteem is as selfish as arrogance. Both hyper-focus on self and ignore others. Try cognitive behavior therapy to talk yourself out of “stinkin’ thinkin” (as Alcohol Rehab describes it).
* Pressure. Perhaps you have, or take on, too much responsibility. Maybe your expectations of self and others are too high.
* Guilt and shame. Is there a little voice whispering terrible somethings in your ear? We’ve all done things to be ashamed of. So fess up, make amends, forgive yourself and others move on. Detach from unsafe people in your life. Ignore that voice till it shuts up.
* Cycles. Women have them, but so do men–times of the month when life seems harder. I had terrible trouble with PMDD (pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder). Now I’m in menopause and that has it’s own moodiness issues.
* Control issues. Do you feel controlled by or controlling of other’s? Beyond parenting or caring for disabled adults, grown-ups shouldn’t control each other. If someone’s hurting you or trespassing on your boundaries, take steps to protect yourself. That’s not controlling (despite what dysfunctional people telling you it is).
* Anger issues. We all struggle with anger. Rageaholics are always mad. Sometimes at themselves, sometimes at everyone else. Rageaholics can loudly aggressive or quietly furious (overtly calm and but passive-aggressive underneath). Source your anger.
* Stimulants and depressants. Downers slow and confuse thinking and uppers put you out of focus. Run screaming from caffeine, sugar, nicotine, alcohol even antidepressants when you’re irritable. Seriously–I was more lethargic and depressed ON Paxil than off. Try herbs–St. John’s Wort works great for husband and I.
* Relationship problems. Maybe it’s not so much that you’re a grouch as that someone is continually pushing your buttons. Kids are good at that. But that’s normal childhood behavior. Adults should know and respect each others triggers’. If they can’t/won’t, it’s time for a relationship hiatus or upgrade.
* Grief. When I’m at low emotional ebb, I may act grumpy when I’m really sad. Talking to trusted loved ones gets me though the bad parts.
A basic mood buster is to remember HALTS. Are you hungry, angry, lonely, tired or sick? Halt, tend to those needs, and you’ll cheer up.