Sometimes, the whole world is out to get you. Your alarm never went off, your sock somehow got wet even though it's sunny out, one of your projects fell through, and your friends cancelled on Beer & Trivia night. What. The. Hell. But rather than internally screaming, you can find ways to turn a bad day around.
I know it sounds optimistic — especially if a wet sock in a soggy shoe is involved — but it's not a fool's dream. There's hope for the day yet. You experience just as many wonderful, puppy-filled days as you do bad ones, but when you hit a snag and your day threatens to derail, it's up to you to keep it right-side up. And the way you can do that is with a forced perspective. Instead of folding and deciding the day is completely ruined and only requires you to hide underneath a blanket, change your mood. Better yet, change your outlook. Be stronger than your outside circumstances and own your own reactions. Just like how you were in a good mood and fell into a bad one, you can be in a bad mood and fall headfirst into a good one. Below are seven tips on how to turn a bad day around!
1. Call Your Best Friend
It worked when you were in high school and it'll work now. If your boss just chewed you out or you just had an unpleasant interaction with a guy who cut you off, call up your bud and vent about it. Why? Because they won't let you stew for long. The great thing about besties is that they call it how they see it, and they'll give you approximately 2.5 minutes to wallow in your pity party before changing the subject towards something more fun, making you move on. Lifestyle writer Seth Simonds from Lifehack observed, "Talking to somebody you trust who cares enough to guide you toward positive thinking has tremendous value. It’s basic, sure. But so are most things that work really well yet are so often forgotten early on." You already have them on speed dial, anyway.
2. Refuse To Use The "Bad Day" Label
Yes, your co-worker stole your idea at the team meeting and, yes, your favorite falafel shop closed, but if you want to get into the habit of not letting bad days fold you, it's time to learn how to reframe your thinking. If you label it "bad" you'll only start looking for more things that will prove you were right. Business writer Gwen Moran at entrepreneur site Fast Company found, "Once you’ve declared the day 'bad,' cognitive bias can kick in and leave you seeking out negativity to prove your thesis about the rotten day." So don't add fuel to the fire — recognize that was a crummy moment in your 24 hours, but you've still got plenty of good ones to experience.
3. Give Yourself Permission To Drop Something From Your To-Do List
If you're really grumpy, make your day a little more positive by allowing yourself to drop a responsibility from your to-do list. Not only will you feel pumped that you have one less errand to run that day, but you can use that free time to go lift your mood. Simonds offered, "If you’re overwhelmed by a day gone awry one very quick solution is to drop something of lesser importance from your schedule and take some time for yourself."
Wander into a cupcake shop, go hole up in a bookstore, maybe do some retail therapy — anything that'll get you smiling again.
4. Instead Of Focusing On What's Wrong, Focus On What's Right
Not really sure how to shake yourself out of this seething mood? Take a moment to sit down and match up the pros and cons of that day: Con, your cat peed on your shoes. Pro: A whole other mess of happy, enjojable things happened. Write down those things and see how they stack up against your one lousy experience. For example, Moran offered ideas, "Did you make it to work okay? Check. Did you get your morning coffee? Add it." All the little things count!
5. Thank Somebody With All Your Heart
Feeling crummy? Push the sulk onto the back burner by going out of your way to really pump up somebody's day. Think of the last person that has helped you, inspired you, or really affected you in some way and send them a thank you note. And don't be chintzy on the details — really let them know what it meant for you to have that experience.
Why? Because it'll get you optimistic again. Business writer John Rampton from Entrepenuer explained, "Gratitude studies have shown writing down things you're thankful for will improve optimism. By thinking about something someone did for you and sharing your gratitude, you will improve you own mood (and probably the mood of the other person as well)." Get to drafting those emails!
6. Go And Achieve Something
Instead of putting a pox on everybody's house because you're so mad, try to change your mood around with a little bit of goal achieving. Lifestyle writer Laura Newcomer from wellness site Greatist mentioned, "Even small successes can have big mood payoffs." Nothing will get you back into the positive mood like watching yourself winning. It doesn't have to be anything huge either — you can finish a chapter of a book, tie up a loose end, finally develop those vacation pictures, tick a couple of things off your to-do list, email that one client you've been ignoring. The instant gratification of being productive will help steer you back to greener pastures.
7. Look At Your Bad Day Clinically
Take this as an opportunity to see what, exactly, set you spiraling towards a bad day, and what you can learn from it. Entrepreneur writer Will Yakowicz at business site Inc explained, "Do a post-mortem when you have a bad day. How did you start the day? What was on your to-do list? How did you handle spilled-milk situations? Take time to reflect on your triggers." That way you'll know how to better react next time, and you'll no what to avoid.
With these tips in your back pocket, you'll never have to experience a 24 hour sulk again!
Images: @aclotheshorse/ Instagram