They say the best way to avoid your own tantrum is to count to ten.
It’s never worked for me.
This is how it goes:
One. Twoo. Threeee. FOurrrr. Five. SIX. SEVEEEEN, EEEEIGHTA. Tantrum.
If you’re like me, read on.
Here we go: Partner gave you the ugly look early in the morning, toddler smeared jam on your pants, cat pooed in the plant pot, your idea got shot down in the meeting, your teenager called you the worst parent ever and you cannot even get the damn cheese pack open. Forget breathing. There’s not enough air in this world to breathe all that crap away.
This is what works for me instead.
1. Run a movie in your head.
See yourself and the situation in the movie. If that alone is not funny enough, make it funny. Turn it into a cartoon. Exaggerate it. Blow it up into the ridiculous.
Hubby or wifey gave you the bad eye: Boooooooooooo-end-of-the-world-hooooooo! How can she do this to me? This is the end! My life is over! I will never love again!
Do it. Until you laugh.
2. Turn it into music.
You missed the train? “Oh no, not I, I will survive!” (Gloria Gaynor)
You accidentally dropped your coffee on your pants? “You’re simply the best! Better than all the rest! Better than aaanyone.” (Tina Turner)
Christmas time and you’re upset with your partner? “You’re a bum, you’re a punk. You’re an old slut on junk. Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed. You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot. Happy Christmas your arse, I pray God it’s our last.” (The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl)
Sing out loud.
3. Make this a BIG deal.
Our egos have a tendency (ahem) to blow things out of proportion. Usually, we see that after the damage is done and the day is ruined. How about we look at it before?
So, the boss said you have to rewrite that proposal. The one you’ve worked on for three days into the night.
Imagine yourself: You’ve been through rehab and spent the last two years in an institution. Today you have another conversation with your favorite therapist.
Therapist: “Now dear. Do you think you’re ready to return home?”
You: “Dunno, doc. I mean it’s tough. It’s really tough, you know? [start blubbering] I worked so hard on that proposal [sniff, sniff] and then she came and just brutally.. [sneeeeeze], brutally… [can’t continue, sobbing]” Therapist throws a pill and breathes deeply.
You get the picture.
4. Create headlines in your head.
I just did that today, when I consistently failed to open a Gouda cheese package: “Sad: Woman Starves Next to Full Cheese Package.”
5. Enjoy the company of animals
Stressed by a particular person or a whole group? Holidays are coming up. You find yourself in the company of people that do not make you happy. (How dare they?)
Here’s what you do. What animal represents them best? When your father, mother, sibling, in-law starts doing what annoys you most, picture them with that animal’s head. Takes the edge out of it, doesn’t it?
Don’t wait for funny things to happen to you. Laugh and you’ll discover that most things in life are, indeed, funny.