On Crabbiness

Lest you think that someone that teaches positivity and happiness practices in business would be happy all the time, let me set the record straight.

Sometimes I’m downright crabby. Lots of things affect my crabbiness – the weather, what I’ve eaten, how much sleep and exercise I get, the people I’m spending time with. Much like most people there are lots of things that irritate me when I let them. (And yes, of course, I do.)

I noticed the other day I was especially crabby and it most definitely had to do with the impending rain. Whatever happens to the barometric pressure before the rain really seems to impact me. Today it’s pouring and I’m just fine.

I think it’s important to notice things. I think it’s important to understand how my body works and how that affects my state of mind. Mindfulness is about paying attention – deep attention to where you are and what you are doing.

People ask me if I’m happy all the time and of course, I’m not – but I am aware of when I’m not and take the time to note the kinds of things that are going on around me, the thoughts I’m thinking, the projects I’m working on, what I had for lunch, etc. and then use that information to my advantage.

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to notice that I’m ruminating on a negative situation, worried about something I can’t control, or stuck in an old habitual way of thinking that is familiar but not terribly useful. (On occasion I’ve eaten poorly at lunchtime and my body is announcing that with crabbiness.)

Crabbiness is a call for paying attention. Is this where I want to be? (Actually, sometimes the answer to that question is “Yes.. thank you very much, I’d like to pout for a bit ” and it blows over in short order.) All dissatisfaction is an opportunity to take a look at what you really want. Simply asking yourself the question, “What would I rather be feeling instead?” is a very useful way to get there.

If you’re dealing with customers and co-workers all day long, you’re sure to pick up a bit of crabbiness along the way. Emotions are contagious – just remember that when you catch one you can take a moment to look at it and choose if you want to keep it.

Being a positive leader takes awareness, it takes the desire to create at minimum three times more positivity than negativity.

Ideally, it takes the desire to create a 5:1 ratio – the same that makes marriages thrive. It takes vigilance over your state of mind and body so that you can be setting an example for all the people that work with you – and for your customers too.

In the end, crabbiness is a choice – so is happiness. What I’ve discovered is that staying happy, content, pleased, in awe, enchanted, fascinated, excited, curious, passionate or any other positive emotion requires (for me – who’s more naturally inclined toward pessimism than optimism) as much of an effort as staying fit physically, and sometimes more.

Is it worth it – heck yes! To me it is – and after all, since optimists live 7 – 9 years longer than pessimists that means Nana JoAnna will be around a longer time to enjoy life and family. Giving up a diet of negative thinking is as hard as giving up fats and sugars but well worth the result.

PS. my astrological sign is a crab – so I’m extra special qualified to comment on crabbiness.


JoAnna Brandi
JoAnna Brandi
President of JoAnna Brandi & Company since 1990, JoAnna is a consultant, a public speaker and the author of two books on customer loyalty, Winning At Customer Retention, 101 Ways to Keep ‘em Happy, Keep ‘em Loyal and Keep ‘em Coming Back and Building Customer Loyalty- 21 Essential Elements in Action and a gift book, 54 Ways to Stay Positive in a Changing, Challenging and Sometimes Negative World. She is currently writing her fourth book on “How Good Can You Stand It? Positivity Practices that Help You Turn Happiness into a Habit” JoAnna Brandi is the Creator of the online learning experience The Practice of Positive Leadership E-Course: Use the Science of Happiness to Engage Your Employees and Keep Your Customers Happy and “Monday Morning Motivation,” a tool used to stay focused on keeping customers happy. She is a Certified Chief Happiness Officer through Florida International University and a graduate of Dr. Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness Coaching program. She has developed one and two-day workshops on Customer Care, Positive Leadership, and does Positive Leadership Coaching for individuals and groups. Positive cultures help create happy customers who come back with money and friends. JoAnna serves a diverse group of clients in many different capacities, in large companies and small alike. Working as a resource for TEC/Vistage, an international organization of CEOs for over 22 years, JoAnna has coached, consulted, and served as the “Chief Inspiration Officer” for CEOs, their executives and staffs nationwide. She is a highly rated speaker at conferences all over North America. In her workshops and keynotes, she motivates entire organizations to get passionate about customers and raise their “Positivity Ratios” at the same time. She specializes in creating more positive, strengths-based workplaces where employees are engaged and motivated and customers are happy and loyal. She helps her clients activate the link between positivity and profitability creating “great companies to work for and do business with.”

DO YOU HAVE THE "WRITE" STUFF? If you’re ready to share your wisdom of experience, we’re ready to share it with our massive global audience – by giving you the opportunity to become a published Contributor on our award-winning Site with (your own byline). And who knows? – it may be your first step in discovering your “hidden Hemmingway”. LEARN MORE HERE


  1. Science teaches us that emotional regulation is characterized by:
    willingness to experience negative or positive emotions;
    awareness, understanding and acceptance of different emotional states;
    engage in achieving a given goal, in response to both positive and negative emotions;
    flexible use of strategies appropriate to the context to modulate the intensity and / or duration of the emotional response,
    displacement and non-suppression of dysfunctional emotion.
    Not an easy job but one that can be learned!!