A young mother was cleaning her kitchen one bright Saturday morning while her daughter sat at the table making “art” with crayons and paper.
The woman was annoyed with her husband, who’d opted for a golf date instead of helping with chores and shopping. They both had a tough work week and the woman was understandably tired and disappointed. She cleaned and straightened while muttering to herself about her husband, her boss, her work and all the ways she’d ever been put upon by inconsiderate people.
Finally, the five-year-old daughter looked up and said, “Mommy, don’t be so grumpy!”
Realizing she’d been complaining aloud, the mother was immediately contrite about inflicting her bad mood on her child. “Oh, honey, I’m sorry. I’m just tired.”
The girl just look at her seriously and advised, “Maybe you wouldn’t be so tired if you stopped thinking so many grumpy things.” She paused thoughtfully and then offered, “Here’s a nice yellow crayon.”
Being in a bad mood affects your own outlook, performance and productivity. It also affects the ability of others around you to focus on their work and feel good about what they’re doing.
The most common way of keeping a bad mood going is to continue to obsess about the things that led to it. That leads to making the mood even blacker by thinking more and more about other similar events. Eventually you get an entire “kitchen sink” of depressing and angry thoughts.
Even a five-year-old can figure out what you need to do: stop the process, stop thinking your grumpy thoughts and get yourself a nice yellow crayon to lighten your mood.