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The baby cried half the night, you couldn’t soothe her, the two hours sleep you got left you cranky and out of sorts when you got up to go to work. Or perhaps it was that tooth that’s been bothering you that kept you tossing and turning, or your mate who snored incessantly, or the neighbors’ partying that kept you miserably staring at the ceiling, until you finally took a sleeping pill and woke up groggy and uncomfortable this morning.

Then of course you had to rush to get out of the house on time, which you didn’t, so you hit more traffic than usual, which made you late, and your boss, who generally doesn’t amble in until 10:00, made it in early and wants to know why the heck you’re late, and is this how you usually behave? Maybe he pays you too much . . .

The lousy mood that was creeping up on you since your dismal wake-up this morning is now full-blown. If you could, you'd turn right around, go home, and bury your head under the covers. And it looks like the day is only going to get worse.

You are irritated, angry, crying “unfair” and “why me?” at the Universe. You snap at your co-workers, at yourself. You have no patience and seem to be all thumbs. You can’t wait for this grinchy day to end so you can--go home, and bury your head under the covers. Which you probably can’t do because when you get home there will be more demands of one kind or another on you. Grumble, grumble.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Really! Your mood is generally brought on by physical conditions: you’re tired, hungry, cold, or in some other type of discomfort. How you respond to your mood, however, is a matter of attitude.

You can choose your attitude, and your attitude is what determines how others respond to you. If your attitude is one of “I feel awful, the whole day is shot,” or “I hate feeling like this, I hate being late, I hate being off my game,” then indeed, you’ll be struggling mightily through your day.

If however, you let yourself off the hook with “I feel pretty awful now, but once I’ve taken my shower, I’ll feel better. Maybe I’ll treat myself to a special coffee, that’ll up my mood,” and similar thoughts, you’ll start to feel better. You may still be tired, but you won’t plummet into “lousy mood.” If you hit traffic, you simply relax and tell yourself “Traffic happens, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll be OK,” and listen to something you enjoy on the radio. When you walk in to work and your boss has her hissy, you’ll be in a much better place to say “I’m sorry. I’m usually on time. I’ll stay later tonight if you want me to” without falling into that “Ain’t it awful, woe is me” place.

The better you can take care of your physical self, the more likely your mood will be good. When it’s not, make deliberate choices about your attitude, and your day will go surprisingly well.

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