It’s going to happen to all of us at one time or another. We have a bad day.
Sometimes it’s just once in a while and at other times it feels like it’s turning into a week. Though the level of “bad” differs for everyone—a parking ticket versus an illness, or a negative comment on social media versus getting laid off—they will happen. It’s part of life.
While we each manage them in our own unique way, there are a few tried and true approaches that can help you bounce back from a bad day.
Change Your Perspective Sure your mom may tell you to “turn that frown upside down” but in the moment, this advice may feel monumental. Sulking is more attractive. While it does the mind and body good to take a moment to sit in this space, staying there will only make the situation worse. Instead, start slowly walking yourself back into a hopeful state with some mental self-coaching.
Dr. Amy L. Jarchow, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist in private practice at Human Resources Associates in Grand Rapids, Michigan, regularly incorporates mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral techniques in her practice. She recommends challenging yourself to stop any catastrophic or all-or-nothing thinking when you are facing a setback.
“When I am having a particularly difficult day, I try to focus on my thoughts in a more positive vain,” said Amy. “It is important to take a step back and gain perspective, as we are often very hard on ourselves. Ask yourself, ‘What would I tell a friend in the same situation?’ and you may find more words of encouragement (versus negative thinking). Imagine success rather than visualizing failure.”
Practice Some Gratitude. “Present-moment awareness and focusing on gratitude for what you do have are the keys to surviving a bad day,” suggests Mona Nair, Certified Yoga and Mindfulness Coach, and popular TV Host. She recommends taking a few deep breaths, relaxing and enjoying the feeling of breathing.
“Rest into the assurance that everything is happening as it should be, everything is taken care of,” says Mona. “When things don’t seem to be going well you have a choice—you can either sink into the spiral of stress and negativity, or you can reach for thoughts about all the positive in your life, all the good that is happening. If it seems like absolutely nothing is going well for you right now, reach for the good experiences that have brought you to where you are now. Those positive thoughts will elevate your energy, mood and point of attraction. So the day will get better faster.”
Pick Up Your Mood. “Stimulating the senses can often help create more positive emotions.” Amy recommends bringing in plants or fresh cut flowers, diffusing some essential oil and surrounding yourself with photos or artwork that you enjoy, or treating yourself to a coffee break as these sensory experiences may help relieve a bit of stress. “Try to make your work environment comforting—and pay attention to those comforting aspects of your work setting to help with stress management.”
While mood pick-me-ups can come from what we bring into our environment, it also includes those with whom we interact. “Trust your intuition with the people in your life who may be shifting your perspective,” says Mona. “If you are around someone convinced this is a bad day and a bad life, create some distance there. Get closer to the people who encourage and help you look at things with a positive lens.
Both experts recommend prioritizing physical care as there is a direct link to emotional well-being. “Getting some movement in, sunshine and air helps a lot,” reminds Mona. “Scale back on caffeine and sugar as coping mechanisms. Stay hydrated as it will flush you out both physically and mentally.”
Kim Monaghan, PCC, RYT, CPBS is the owner of KBM Coaching & Consulting LLC, a boutique Human Resources Consulting and Career Coaching Firm serving a national clientele.