Get A Grip: 'Wallowing' away from a bad day<BR>

Everybody has bad days.

Days when everything seems to go wrong.

Your alarm doesn't go off; you can't find your keys; you run out of gas; work is stressful.

We've all had these days.

One of my favorite children's books deals with this very subject: "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." Little Alexander has such a rotten day he vows to move to Australia to get away from his troubles.

I was thinking about Alexander on Thursday, four days into a difficult week, and wondering about airfares to Australia.

I checked and found a one-way ticket to Sydney for $2,529.

Being about $2,520 more than I can afford, I decided to look into other solutions to my problem.

I recalled an article I read recently about what to do when you have a bad day.

The author recommended exercise and a healthy meal.

The theory was that if you take the time to take care of yourself and work up some endorphins, then you're sure to feel better.

Well, I don't know about you, but when I have a rotten day, exercise and a healthy meal are the last things I think about.

When I have a rotten day, I don't want to run, I want to wallow.

So in lieu of an escape to Australia or a jog around the park, I decided to fall back on my tried and true pick-me-up method.

Having children seriously hinders wallow-ability but if you wait until the kids are tucked in bed, I have a wallowing technique that I've found certain to lift me out of a slump.

Supplies you'll need include a couch or cushy chair, a sweat suit, chocolate (almost any form is acceptable, but brownies and Snickers work particularly well), one large pizza, red wine (Sangre de Torro from Spain is good because it comes with a plastic bull tied around the neck of the bottle; for the teetotalers substitute any name-brand soda pop), a couple of good movies – one that makes you cry and one that makes you laugh, and some Kleenex.

My wallowing movies of choice are the French film "Camille Claudel" and the cult classic "Harold and Maude."

"Camille Claudel" is the tragic tale of a French artist who works with the great sculptor Auguste Rodin.

By the time Camille is barricaded in her apartment with her insanity while rains pour torrentially from the sky, I'm sure to be crying so hard I'm gulping for air and clutching a bouquet of Kleenex.

After a good cathartic cry, I segue into the quirky "Harold and Maude." A decidedly unusual love story, "Harold and Maude" always makes me laugh and cry while I sing along to the feel-good Cat Stevens soundtrack.

When the movies are done and all the chocolate consumed, I can fall into a deep sleep anticipating a brighter tomorrow.

The Pollyanna article about exercise and good food says that bingeing when you're down is a bad idea and makes it harder to snap out of your woe, but I've found different.

Once a year or so, when things really look glum, it feels good to wallow.

Why a so-called "good cry" can make one feel better is mysterious but it certainly works.

In a psychology class I once took I heard the theory that working quickly and thoroughly through emotions, as one does with a movie, has a cleansing effect on the psyche.

As for the chocolate, I've heard that's a chemical thing.

Regardless, both c's (catharsis and chocolate) certainly can impact one's outlook even if they don't help your health or your dress size.

The Pollyanna article also suggested those who are down look around them and count their blessings.

This is good advice because I don't know anyone who can't look a short distance and find someone in much more dire straits.

After all, is it really a big deal to lose your keys and oversleep in a world where people are starving?

On the other hand, everyone's experiences are unique, and if it makes you feel better to eat a plate a brownies while sobbing over a movie, I don't see the harm.

It's certainly cheaper than a flight to Australia.