Any strategies for becoming less of a grouch?

God, dude(tte)s. Help me be less of a crabby bitch.

I don’t know what the deal is, but my level of pissiness seems to be gradually increasing over time. I remember growing up, I could honestly roll with just about anything. Now, I easily get frustrated about practically anything that doesn’t go the way I think it should go. I complain too much.

It’s weird, because if something goes horribly wrong I’m totally fine, like if the house collapsed or my truck blew up or someone stole my motorcycle I’d shrug it off, but if you drive ten under the limit in front of me I’m going to start swearing loudly at you and get pretty creative with it.

My Dad has gotten complain-ier as he’s gotten older too, and it’s over the top. I don’t want to turn into that, or have my wife and kids have to listen to that from me. So, anyone else in the same boat? Anyone fix it?

I use a series of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques for a variety of purposes, but the one that applies in this case is “Is it useful?” What benefit are you gaining from being grouchy, frustrated and whiny? Is that benefit greater than the negative impact? Do you really feel better when you are complaining, or does letting things roll off you actually make you happier?

The next time you are faced with a minor frustration, try to think of a way that you could control or resolve it. If there’s no way, let it go, since being frustrated won’t do any good.

My level of pissiness has been going up over the years too - and I was pretty bad to start with. One thing that’s helped in the last couple of years is my increasing awareness of how absolutely fucked everything is pretty much all over the world, but particularly in the third world, asia, the middle east etc. Not so much “count your blessings” as genuine astonishment and gratitude that I’ve been able to live through another day without being run down in a crosswalk, road-raged by some imbecile, kidnapped and chained up in a basement for ten years and so on.

Like, I got a lot of problems for sure, same as everybody, even living in what I’m sure is the most benign area on the planet. A shitload of problems - but I could be having these same problems in Cambodia, with colitis, and the government after me, crawling through fields littered with land mines and crawling with mad cows (brought in to trigger the land mines). Literally, life scares the shit out of me. Well, not literally. But with all the atrocities going on all over the place, and my understanding that it’s not through any particular virtue of mine that I find myself living in one of the best places in the world, I find I’m increasingly grateful for anything good that comes my way, and to those I love.

Not that I’m not still an owly sonofabitch. I’m not cured. But to borrow a phrase, I claim progress rather than perfection :slight_smile:

I’m not a yoga person, but I’ve heard many people praise the effects of yoga and meditation on their stress levels and reactions to everyday headaches.

Next time you find yourself getting crabby, ask yourself “Does this REALLY matter in the grand scheme of things? Will I care about this or even remember it in one week/month/year?” If not, it’s really not worth getting frustrated over.

I’m a sunny-side kind of person, so I would probably really annoy you.

Here’s a few things I do when frustrated:

-Count my blessings. I am currently better off than 99% of humanity. Most people live very tough lives. No matter how bad things are, as a person who reads the Straight Dope, you’re in a better situation than at least 70% of all the people currently living on Earth. That’s something to celebrate
-Consider how important the frustration is. Does this really matter? Answer: Probably not.
-Move on. You have better things to do than dwell on this
-If it’s another person, the only thing your frustration does is let them win. Be the better person and they don’t get the satisfaction of annoying you.

Good luck!

Once I noticed how patient and understanding and mellow I was with children and people with cognitive impairments, as opposed to how irritable everyone else made me, I decided to pretend that anyone who was pissing me off had some sort of brain injury. It’s helping.

This is all very good advice. We all have our on little things that set us off. I think that as we get older, some of the same stuff happens again and again. The one common thing that might set us off is contained in ourselves. It’s our history.

Like the OP, I’m great when the shit really hits the fan. Step back, assess, fix. So a ‘melt down’ is not needed. Nor ever productive.

It’s the stuff that makes me roll my eyes that drives me a bit nuts. I’ve learned to just ‘smile and nod’. Don’t sweet the little stuff. Something very little to me, might be very important to someone else. And visa-versa.



I actually enjoy getting a little grumpier with age. In my younger days, I was the epitome of agreeable, always smiling and agreeing with everyone and quietly gnashing my teeth and stomping my feet behind doors. Now, if something irritates me, I’ll say it. It feels good to be true to myself. Liberating.

I’m actively pursuing a strategy that may let me enjoy my life the way I was meant to.

I call it, “Mutually Assured… Enjoyment.”

Whyever would you want to be LESS of a grouch?

Ix-nay on the Klonopin! That shit may help you feel good for a while, but it can snare you! Then you’ll really have something to grouch about.

I don’t know your lifestyle, but cutting out television and internet probably helps. It’s very easy to get yourself all riled up from the crap one encounters watching TV or surfing the net for the simple reason that is what 90% of the content is designed to do.

I’ve been wondering the same thing.

Every day I write down three “good things” that happened that day. Not “Jumping up and down happy dance time” things, just good things. Like the talk I had with a librarian about music. Or the good lunch I had. Or finally getting my money exactly right at work.

Life is full of good things. Take time to find them and the little bad things will not seem so important.

Back in the day, the answer used to be “much more range time”.

Sometimes I miss that.

Are there no more shooting ranges?

Cultivate forgiveness.

It’ll get better once you get those kids off your lawn.