What Makes You Cranky?


One of the great things about being on vacation is that being cranky is such a contrast to where you want to be that those moments really stand out. Because they are so vivid, it’s easy to shift your thoughts and choose a different response.

It surprised me that I had a few cranky moments last week while my husband and I were celebrating our 20th anniversary on a five-day cruise. If there is ever a time to enjoy the ease and flow of life it’s when there is no cooking, no cleaning, no chores, no responsibilities, and an abundance of time, food, and fun things to do. What in the world is there to be cranky about?

The peaceful view in Jamaica

The good news is that observing myself having a cross-reaction under those ideal circumstances made me realize how often I must be doing that on a day-to-day basis without even being aware of it. It’s like I’m so used to the negative undertow that I don’t even realize I’m being carried along in its current.

I love having that awareness because now I can look for the subtle signs and can proactively shift to a more positive, anabolic energy.

Being late was one of my catabolic triggers. If there was a time we were supposed to be somewhere, my chances of crankiness increased. It didn’t matter if the threat was being late to dinner or missing the curfew for returning to the ship, my anxiety level was the same.

The reality is that I’m often late. I typically see this as my husband’s fault, but it’s just as likely that I’m the one who gets sidetracked or takes too long to get ready. This is not a characteristic I like in myself, so I’m quick to jump on David when I see the behavior in him.

And there absolutely should be a reactionary difference between being late to dinner and missing our ride home. One may have serious consequences, but the other does not, and shouldn’t be treated as a big deal.

Another cranky moment stemmed from David bringing a minimum of cash and no credit card ashore, which limited our options. Now did I take responsibility and pack some monetary means? Nope. I didn’t have a cent on me. It was much easier to criticize David for his lack of foresight rather than acknowledge my own culpability.

Paying attention to where you have a less-than-stellar reaction is a great way to rethink the situation and choose a different response in the future—and sometimes even in the moment.

Amazingly, when I let go of the money issue, David found an extra $10 in his pocket that was just the amount we needed.

My mantra for the remainder of the trip; “Everything is always working out for us.” And you know what? It was, and always is.

For me, it all boils down to letting go of control and trusting the experience and process, while at the same taking appropriate responsibility for my foibles, actions, and responses. My intention is to take this awareness forward and to be much more conscious of when I’m in a catabolic current, and choose a different response.

You get to decide how to react to everything that is happening around you. How can you respond a little differently today?

Together we can do it!

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11 thoughts on “What Makes You Cranky?

  1. I sometimes become cranky about my restrictions due to disability; I love my garden but Dom has to work on it for me now; I’m limited as to what housework I’m able to do because of my asthma (if it involves vacuuming or dusting that’s a big no-no) and for the same reasons I can’t leave the house when Dom is mowing the lawn.

    I’ve tried to temper that frustration by finding worthwhile and fulfilling hobbies, and by connecting with others who have my issues so that we can vent when needed.

    • You have some pretty darn good excuses for being cranky! Bravo for finding ways to temper your frustration instead of just indulging in it. You provide a wonderful example for all of us.

  2. Geeze, if you can’t blame your husband, who can you blame!? LOL I think cranky is part of being human. It’s like a thermostat. You set the temperature, but because of circumstance (internal or external) you find yourself needing to adjust it now and then. Cranky is the indicator that tells you the temperature setting needs to be adjusted a bit. I have learned to laugh at myself and my husband laughs too, about the cranky thing. When one of us points out that the other is cranky, the conditioned response is “yes, but I have many other fine redeeming qualities.” That’s usually a pretty good temperature adjustment. So Hana, I think you have many other fine redeeming qualities. HUGS!!!

    • It is absolutely a temperature gauge. I just articulate it differently–is the temperature anabolic or catabolic? Whatever gauge you use, it presents the opportunity to choose a new response. I love the “Yes, but I have many other fine redeeming qualities,” and will use that with your permission. It’s brilliant and totally shifts the energy. Thanks for commenting!

  3. I love it that you always refer to the anabolic/catabolic thing. I think most disease process starts in stress! You’re a gem!

    • I think you are a gem, too! And yes, those thoughtless little snipes that most people take at their spouses–and throughout life–can easily build up to dis-ease. That’s why I believe it’s important to pay attention to our thoughts, feelings, and actions. (Coming back with humor is awesome!) These are the things we actually have control over and can do something about. I can’t change David, but I can change how I respond. Not only does he benefit by not getting harped on, often unfairly, but so do I–mind, body, and spirit. Just because I have practiced a response in the past, doesn’t mean I have to repeat it. But you have to pay attention and be aware that you are doing it. I won’t ever get it done–cranky responses will creep in over all kinds of things in the future. But they always present me with the opportunity to alter my perspective. And hopefully sharing my imperfection and laughing at myself will help someone else recognize it in themselves. Because we all have many other fine redeeming qualities! Thanks again! I appreciate you!

  4. I often feel cranky specially if I had an appointment and being there late due to many reasons and the later part of the day I find nonsense and I find myself laughing at it, in our day to day life it is normal, not at all times we can control our temper … and I find a way to control it by not talking for a couple of minutes then after that I feel fine…

  5. Pingback: How Abundant Are You? | Goss Coaching

  6. Our crankiness is a bad habit that we must be conscious of in order to break. This is something that I am also personally working on.

    All crankiness does is elevate your blood pressure and change your focus to a negative one. And as you pointed out, the things that irritate us are usually minutae and within our control.

    I am a new reader to this blog, but I love your approach as far as making little changes in the way we behave.

    I am looking forward to more good stuff from you.

    Enjoy the rest of your cruise.

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