Women are different, just as much as they are the same. Men may even say complex. But there are a few simple things you need to know if you want to cheer up a cranky woman. First of all, if you know she's cranky for a specific reason, you have to take her reason into consideration. But if she's cranky for no particular reason, or every reason, a general approach will do.
Dealing with Specifics
Ask her if she wants to talk. Let her know that you want to listen because you care about how she feels. When she does talk, listen. Make remarks that let her know you hear her, and ask questions for clarification. But don't give advice unless she asks for it. While men tend to be problem solvers, often not talking about a problem unless they have a solution or are avidly seeking a solution, women talk to figure it out for themselves. Sometimes just getting feelings out is all a woman needs to feel better. If you validate her feelings through your sincere interest in her concerns, she can be relieved of the stress and frustration that makes her feel cranky, even when no solution is identified.
Invite Her to Exercise
Just as stress leads to the release of "fight or flight" chemicals into her body, exercise releases happy hormones -- such as serotonin. Invite her to accompany you to the gym, the pool, for a walk, or any other physical activity that can get her heart pumping and give her muscles a workout. According to Michael Otto and Jason D. Smits, Ph. D. in "Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression," included among the mood-altering effects of exercise are less anger and cynical distrust and stronger feelings of connection.
Give Her a Break
Cranky behavior can be a sign that a woman is overwhelmed. Often tasked with balancing many duties and looking out for children, husbands, family and friends, a woman can tire from caregiving. Generally, it is the nature of a woman to nurture others, which can leave her feeling drained and in need of some TLC of her own. Surprise her by making dinner; do a household chore you don't customarily do; perform the baby's bedtime routine so she can take a relaxing bath; massage her feet; or watch one of her favorite movies with her.
When All Else Fails, Don't Forget Chocolate
Give her dark chocolate for an almost instant mood boost. Consuming dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain -- improving concentration -- and elevates her mood. Other foods that can make her feel better are blue potatoes with skins -- which contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation, which can dampen her spirits; Greek yogurt -- for calming calcium; and Swiss chard -- for a dose of magnesium to help her body regulate hormones, enzymes and other chemicals to decrease depression.
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- African American Relationships, Marriages, and Families: An Introduction; Patricia Dixon
- The American Psychological Association: The Exercise Effect
- Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression; Michael Otto and Jason D. Smits, Ph. D.
- Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience: How to Increase Serotonin in the Human Brain Without Drugs
- Today Health: Happiness May Be a Bite Away with 11 Mood-Boosting Foods
For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.
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