Monday, December 26, 2011

Recipe for Curing Grumpiness

I'm reading several books about the Great Depression to arm myself with knowledge just in case we find ourselves in another one soon. The latest read is called Little Heathens, Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish.

There are recipes included and plenty of tips on how to make do with practically nothing. There's also good advice on how to rid yourself of grumpiness. I always did something similar with my own children which was when they were being grouchy, I had them go look in the mirror and smile until it became real. They always returned with a good attitude after that. Works every time. I've used it a few times on myself. Here's what the author says is her Grandma's recipe for grumpiness.

"Along with Grandpa, Grandma provided the solid, practical commonsense guidance in the lives of us children. She took the development of our character seriously and insisted that we improve ourselves. One of her more important observations was that it was impolite and unacceptable to visit your ill temper on those around you. If you wake up feeling at odds with the world, direct your attention outside of yourself, see what the world requires of you, and then get busy. The chances are that in a very short while, your grumpiness will soon be displaced by a feeling of goodwill. Her understanding of the psychology of moods was so keen that years later when I read the following passage from William James, I felt as though I'd encountered a soulmate of my grandmother's":

The voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our spontaneous cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully, and act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there. To feel brave, act as if we were brave, use all our will to that end, and courage will very likely replace fear. If we act as if from some better feeling, the bad feeling soon folds its tent like an Arab and silently steals away.

Good advice from William James AND Grandma.


Gumbo Lily said...

That is such a good of my favorites.

Pom Pom said...

Interesting! I do smile at myself in the mirror every morning. I do believe doing things for others is the best therapy. Smart!

laurel said...

That is the cutest little face. I forget how cute they were (and are).
You talked in your latest post about your frustration and discontentment. Maybe some of the answers you are looking for are in this post.