A bad day can start as easily as a missed train, having no milk for a coffee in the morning, or from a stub of the toe upon waking. Sometimes it feels like we have simply gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. This can be a result of many factors. It is possible there were unresolved issues, thoughts left over from the night before, or perhaps a lack of sleep is to blame. Whatever the cause it is important never to let a bad day snowball.
It was just a bad minute
First things first. One of the main cause of “bad days” is the idea that one catastrophic moment should amount to a full 24 hours of pain. Ever heard of self-fulfilling prophecy? A stub of the toe in the morning is annoying at the best of times let alone when it is coupled with a broken boiler. A big human tendency is to make generalizations, and we tend to take these moments, especially when they occur near the beginning of the day, to be a sign of what is to come during the whole day. By all means have a little outburst when the dog does its business on the carpet at the last second before you leave, but recognize that the day will go on; calm down and make the most of the rest of the day.
Stop… and relax
The second you realize that a downward spiral has commenced, take a moment out of time to stand, or sit, and to take a nice deep breath. Breathe. It’s all okay. Sit for as long as it takes, and as long as you can spare. Take a minute, or ten would be plenty. Anytime you feel annoyed, or something happens that sets off bad day syndrome, sit down and relax. Nothing is worse than continuing the bustle of activity when stress kicks in, but fortunately a quick pause easily solves the problem.
Imagery can be useful for this. Imagine being in a comfortable place, or just visualize people you love making you smile, or your favorite comedian making you laugh. If you can get out of the mindstate of negativity for just a few minutes it will be possible to turn the day around. For anyone less visually inclined try positive thinking instead.
Positive thinking is not about trying to deny the negative aspects of an experience, or situation. Rather it is about trying to make the most of everything, and trying to transform negatives into positives. If something is bothering you think about how best to handle the situation. Be resolute and overcome the problem either mentally, or with physical implementations. Think positively about the rest of the day too. When a negative thought spiral becomes a loop in the mind, the day has a tendency to follow its lead. Use the relaxation tip above, and then think positively.
Something to look forward to
Not all bad days start in the first five minutes. Often it can be a bad day at the office. Many stresses and strains happen in the workplace, and every now and again everything has a tendency to erupt. Dominant bosses, bitchy workers, unhappy clients and customers, bad sales. If there is nothing to realistically look forward to in the immediate environment then make sure there is something to look forward to when its all done for the day. For those bad days at the office it is time to go home and change the day for the better.
After work, even those long shifts, try to find something that is worthwhile, enjoyable, something that brings out your passions. Time with the family, nice food, walks, films, golf, birdwatching, fencing, sauna; whatever. Find it, love it, let it bring you up after a hard day at the office.
If every day at the office is a bad day then it is time to think about changing jobs; as daunting as this might sound, a long term approach can lead to positive changes. This applies to other aspects of life aswell; if something is causing bad days to happen far too frequently, it is probably time to make changes for the better.
Get some rest
Nothing beats a good rest, so try to get it before it gets you! Keeping up with sleep is important for mood and functioning, so try to get enough of it. It is different for everyone but it is easy to gauge the amount that you need for yourself. When you have had enough you will feel more ready for the day and when you haven’t had enough you will feel tired, dazed, and moody. Bad days can start the night before, if you are intoxicated, have unresolved arguments, or aren’t getting enough rest. So be kind to yourself, your body, and mind, and wake up ready tomorrow.
Have a good day!