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How to Kill the Grouch Inside You and Be Healthier for It

By Sara Butler

How to Kill the Grouch Inside

It’s finally October. For most people, that means it’s time to dust off the boots and fuzzy sweaters, rejoice in all things pumpkin spice, and just generally enjoy the ultimate in all things autumn. Except for one segment of the population: the grouch.

You know what I mean. You’re cranky. You like to complain. If you could live in a trash can and fling insults at people all day, you totally would. You’re a grouch. And on October 15, you can recognize that with National Grouch Day -- even though you know deep down that every day is National Grouch Day, especially if you’re of a certain age and have earned the right..

Of course, you may recognize that you’re a grouch and want to amend your cantankerous ways. I hear you. If that’s the case, then use this year’s Grouch Day as the jumping-off point to commit to no longer being a grump. Or a Grinch. So come on -- get out of that trash can, dust yourself off, and learn how you can turn that grouchy frown upside down and improve your mood.

What’s Wrong With Being a Grouch?

No offense to the grouchy people out there -- hello, “Karen” -- we all have our days when the world deserves an Oscar the Grouch-style outlook. But if you have more grouchy days than non-grouchy days, then it’s time to think about why, because being a grouch can actually be hazardous to your health.

When someone is irritable, stress hormones are often high too. Chronic high levels of stress hormones like cortisol can disrupt the way your body is meant to work. Eventually, it puts you at higher risk for health problems that can seriously impact your quality of life, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Sleep issues
  • Depression
  • Memory issues
  • Heart disease
  • Digestive issues
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

Plus, being grouchy makes you and everyone around you miserable. This is why it’s important to figure out what the source of your grump is and how to better cope with the issues causing it.

How You Can Fight Back Against Grumpiness

If you find yourself in a constant state of grumpiness and often shoo kids off your lawn, then you may want to start addressing it.

  • Uncover the source - There’s a reason why you’re grumpy all the time and it’s not because Snow White is your favorite Disney cartoon. If you want to reduce your irritability, then you must figure out why you’re irritable in the first place. Think about when you first started feeling that way and what was happening around you that may have been the reason behind it. The answer can be complex, but just recognizing it is a big step out of Grouchland.
  • Think about reducing your intake of certain things - If you drink a lot of coffee or find yourself indulging in adult beverages quite often, those may not be helping your grumpiness issue. Too much caffeine or too much alcohol can trigger irritability in some people, so think about reducing your intake.
  • Be honest - The truth is that it’s often little things that set the grump in motion. Sure, you start off playing Monopoly with good intentions, but when you find yourself in major debt and sent directly to jail one too many times, the grump makes an appearance. Things that many people take in stride may not sit well with you, but just be honest with yourself about it. Sometimes simply understanding the little things that set you off can be helpful and enlightening.
  • Work it out - Grumpiness and irritability are rooted in the body’s fight or flight response. You’re no longer guarding the cave entrance against predators that want to eat you, but your body doesn’t really know that. So, when you feel yourself being irritable, get some exercise. A quick walk or a few push-ups may be what you need to take the edge off.
  • Take a break - If you feel yourself getting grumpy, then you may need to simply give yourself a timeout. Go someplace quiet where you can be alone and disengage from what’s going on around you. Remember, grumpiness is often your body’s way of telling you that you need a break, so listen to it instead of trying to push on.

Grumpy may be one of the seven dwarfs, but he’s not one you should idolize. Try these strategies and maybe you can transition to being Bashful or even Happy. Sleepy would work, too.

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