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Calming the Chaos

Calming the Chaos is a podcast by Licensed Mental Health Counselor Tracy Kenela. She uses profound and often humorous stories from her own life to illustrate how chaos can show up, and how emotional it can be! Anxiety, depression, fear, worry, shame and overwhelm can be managed using a variety of simple tools, skills and techniques. Tracy uses her experience as a counselor and her own personal work to provide you with hope…as well as some simple coping techniques, support and encouragement... that will help you move toward a more peaceful and enjoyable life.

Feb 2, 2020

Podcast Episode: Captain Cranky-Pants

In this episode of “Calming the Chaos,” we’ll be talking about an emotion of “Cranky,” an emotion that is a relative in the “Anger” family. You’ll receive a description of what it feels like to be cranky, and how this particular emotion can put you at risk for having more chaos in your life. Through stories and situations, you’ll learn some tips, tools and techniques to help you manage the chaos of your mind when YOU are “Captain Cranky-Pants.

1. How cranky can show up in your life.

a. It can show up unexpectedly, and make you more vulnerable to the major emotions we’ve already discussed, as well as their related family members.
b. Crankiness is an emotion that can serve a purpose, remember…once you experience emotions, your chaos increases. And…emotions do serve purposes.
c. Since the purpose of this podcast is to decrease the chaos you feel in your life, we want to give you skills to decrease your crankiness.

2. L will tell you a story about a specific situation when I’ve experienced being Captain CrankyPants, and what I did to handle being in that role.
a. As you’re listening to the story, try thinking about what YOU would done in this situation.
b. At the end of the story, I’ll point out the ways I believe I handled the situation effectively and ineffectively, and also what I learned from the experience.
c. I will also give you some tips and tools that you can use to handle a similar situation.
I. What is cranky?
Old men and women….and…My cat Oscar
When I was a kid, and people didn’t like me playing near their lawns

My cat Oscar, who would stride toward me with an intense look in his eyes, saying “MEOOOOW” and looking like he was none too happy about what was going on. Food. Lap.

Cranky shows up unexpectedly, when you …

• Suddenly realize that you are not happy about what is going on. It could be something physical, like a stomach ache, or painful body feeling.

• A person or entity appears and interferes with what you want to happen.
(In my case, The Internal Revenue Service. or IRS).

II. Why does cranky make sense?

Cranky makes sense because anger makes sense. Anger happens when what you DO want ISN’T happening, and what you DON’T want IS happening. So of course, this could make you cranky!

SKILL: If you are feeling cranky now, try and use the skill of validation of emotions. Try saying to yourself, My crankiness makes sense because……. (for example, I feel a certain way, and something is getting IN m way of me getting something done).

III. Story One day, I just woke up, and I was Captain Cranky-Pants!

Symptoms of cranky include (but aren’t limited to) the following:
a. Tired
b. Headache, back ache
c. Low energy
d. My family members were upbeat….I wasn’t!
e. People were needy, but so was I. Who was attending to my needs?.
f. Things kept getting in my way of accomplishing my goal
g. Emails. Schedule changes. More things to do. Blah, blah, blah
h. Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors

i. Thoughts: I’ve done everything I can. And yet nothing gets accomplished.

ii. Feelings: Despair. Sadness. Anger

iii. Behaviors: Eye rolling. Lip pursing. Fist clenching. Some emails and phone calls that are overly aggressive.

IV. Looking back, what could have been done differently?

• “Kept a firm eye on my behaviors. Even though I felt cranky, I could act differently

• Get more sleep. Practice more self-care. Identify energy drains, and eliminate them from my life, and identify energy resources, and put more of them into my life.

• Set an intention to be upbeat, even when you are not upbeat.

• Attend to your own needs. You can’t expect everyone to attend to your needs…do it yourself

• Pace yourself: emails, schedule changes and things to do can come in time. Pace yourself. Do what you can in the moment, and save the other stuff for later

Skills and tools: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

1. Identify emotion. “I am cranky”
2. Validate emotion. “It makes sense that I am cranky because”
3. Set an intention: “What would I like to do instead?”
4. Visualize yourself doing something other than being cranky

Conclusion: It is so important to recognize crankiness, step back, validate emotions, use skills, and visualize yourself doing something other than being cranky. This may not give you a perfect life, but it sure can improve the quality of the life you are living, If you want a peaceful life, recognize when emotions are happening, consider what to do instead, and visualize yourself doing something other than being cranky.

If you liked this podcast, please subscribe, rate and review it through iTunes / Apple Music:

You can also look at past episodes by clicking the link

• Further Resources:

1. Access Tracy’s website for resources to “Calming the Chaos” podcast and other links to help you:

2. Tracy’s CD on calming the mind. It’s called “On This Day.” This CD is available on CD and Digital format through Amazon, Spotify and Apple music at the following links

a. Amazon:

b. Spotify: