Seven Steps to Getting Through a Bad Day with a Better Attitude
Have you ever had a totally awesome day followed by a totally crappy one? This happens to me all the time. One Friday night, I went to bed with a giant smile on my face, loving life and feeling completely present and grateful. On Saturday night, I sat pouting on the floor of the shower long after my shower had ended, writing “I hate my life” with my finger on the condensation of the shower wall.
Bad days are obviously inevitable, but when we compare them to our good days, they tend to feel even worse. For an explosively emotional person like me, suffering through the long hours of a bad day feels like trying to escape a house of mirrors, never quite finding an exit and getting frustrated with the seemingly never-ending obstacles. I guess I should add that I haven’t been inside a house of mirrors since going into one and smacking face first into a mirror, giving myself a bloody nose.
When I’m having a bad day, all I can think about is how much I want it to get better – how much I want to find a way out. When I complain and stress over wanting to feel better, I usually tend to feel even worse. It’s like a snowball effect.
So how do we push through all of the yucky feelings associated with a bad day? How can we make ourselves feel just a little bit better when all we want to do is sit in a corner pouting like a two-year old?
I’ve recently discovered some techniques that work pretty well for me.
Sit with yourself. Make a conscious effort to stop ranting and stomping around long enough to just sit still and let yourself breathe for a moment. Find a quiet space or go to one of your favorite rooms and just sit with your feelings. It may be uncomfortable and you may be fuming, but once you sit by yourself for a few moments and regain your composure, you’ll notice yourself starting to relax.
Address your feelings and the source of them. Get clear about how you feel and why you feel that way. If you can do something about a problem you’re having, give yourself time to calm down and then figure out how to fix it. If you can’t fix it, accept what is and just let it be.
Write a venting letter and then respond to it. I know it sounds weird, but it is extremely therapeutic. Write out a note saying whatever is on your mind. Read back over what you wrote and pretend that you are reading a letter from a close friend. Then respond to it the way you would respond to that friend. Hopefully, this exercise will help you find some clarity and bring you to a calmer, more rational mindset.
Do something that makes you feel good. Do something nice for yourself or something that will make you feel better. Go for a walk, listen to your favorite album, watch a movie, bake some cookies, call a good friend, etc. You never know how much a simple activity could turn your day around.
Focus on what truly matters. If you are stressed out or angry about something that you more than likely won’t even remember in the morning, don’t worry about it now. That spilled coffee, that person who cut you off in traffic, that rude comment from the lady at the grocery store – nothing like that should ruin your day. Ask yourself if what you’re so upset about really matters.
Envision a better tomorrow. Imagine that tomorrow could be better. Before you go to sleep at night, ask yourself what you can do to make the following day a good one. Picture yourself having a better day and believe that it can happen. Commit to doing everything in your power to make it happen. Anything that is not in your power, drop it.
Let go. Let go of whatever it is you’re clinging to, whether it be a worry over something you cannot control, an expectation or a grudge. Most of the time, when we’re in a bad mood, it’s because there is something we are holding on to that is putting a burden on us. Recognize that burden and release it. Let the day come to an end and realize that tomorrow is a new day to be happy.
Madison Sonnier is an aspiring writer and lover of music, animals, nature, creativity and the simple things in life. You can read her personal ramblings and life insights at Journey of a Soul Searcher.
Photo credit: Plesko
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