If you're having a bad day, you might be wondering if there's a way to reset and turn things around. And the answer is yes — yes there is. While you may not be able to instantly fix everything that's got you down, or magically remove all sources of stress, you can certainly deal with a bad day in a healthier way, and move it in a more positive direction.
One of the most effective ways to change your day, is by slowing down and finding ways to switch up your perspective. "If you are focused on how bad the day is going and have essentially given in to the fact that it is going to be that way, you will most likely continue to have a bad day," Talya Knable, LCPC, of Talya Knable Psychotherapy, tells Bustle. "Whereas if you can accept what has happened and choose to focus on making things different, you will be able to have things turn around. Resetting a bad day is not only 100 percent possible, but fairly easy to do if you employ the correct tools."
Here, a few simple ways to pause, feel better, and move your whole day in a more positive direction, according to experts.
1. Take A Deep Breath
To get into a better frame of mind — no matter what's happening around you — sometimes all you need to do is take a deep breath. "Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system," Ashley Matejka, a certified health coach, tells Bustle. "This promotes a state of calmness and helps bring your awareness away from negative thoughts."
2. Jot Down A Gratitude List
It may sound too good to be true, but gratitude really is everything when it comes to shifting your perspective. So take a second and focus on creating a gratitude list. "Be as specific as possible with what it is you're grateful for and why," Sarah Moe, a happiness coach at Flauk tells Bustle. "This helps to re-center you and remind you that not everything is going terribly. It also starts an upswing in your day."
3. Do Something Nice For Someone
If your day isn't going great, try to make someone else's better. "Doing something kind for someone, such as buying a stranger a coffee or holding the door open for someone, can bring both you and the recipient a lot of joy and will definitely take you out of the tunnel of misery and put you back on the path to happiness," Moe says.
4. Talk It Out
If you think a quick venting session might be in order, don't hesitate to reach out to a friend. "Often times, hearing yourself share with someone what is going on will allow you to take a different perspective that you had not previously thought about," Knable says. "If the goal is to try to make things better, focus on what you want to see happen, rather than the negative you might otherwise feel stuck in."
5. Pause For 15 Minutes
If you're stressed or upset, steal away for 15 minutes and have a few moments of downtime. Read a book, take a shower, watch Netflix — just make sure it's something you enjoy. As Knable says, "The list is endless of things you can to do take care of yourself and turn around a bad day."
6. Get A Change Of Scenery
Don't be afraid to walk away from a bad day — if only for a moment. "If the office is just a morass of bad situations, cut out early. If you’re home and you can’t escape the bad news situations, get out of the house," New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. "Sometimes something as simple as taking yourself out of an environment can do the trick!"
7. Take A Quick Nap
While it may sound unhelpful to climb into bed, this really can do wonders. "A quick power nap ... can improve brain function, energy, irritability, and emotional feelings," Chris Brantner, a sleep expert and founder of SleepZoo, tells Bustle. Just make sure you get up in 20 minutes.
"You don't want to take too long of a nap or you'll experience sleep inertia, which will leave you feeling worse than before," Brantner says. "This occurs due to progressing into the slow wave phase of sleep. If you wake up during this phase, you're going to feel terrible. So make sure you keep your nap to about 20 minutes, where you'll still be in light sleep, and you'll feel good when you wake up.
8. Give Someone A Hug
Being in close contact with someone releases a hormone called oxytocin, "which can make you feel warm and loved, and is shown in several studies to reduce anxiety, stress and depression," life coach Nick Hatter tells Bustle. So find someone who's down for a hug, and have at it.
9. Laugh It Up
Yes, it can be tough to laugh when you're having a bad day. But do your best to make it happen. "Emotions do not like to share space with each other," Alex Runolfson, CMHC and owner of Bloom Recovery, tells Bustle. "If you are feeling particularly angry or negative laughter will, even for a few moment, push those feelings aside."
10. Throw Your Problems Away
The next time a bad day's got you down, try getting all your thoughts out on paper, and then crumpling it up and throwing it away. "By identifying your problems on paper and then literally throwing them away, you are externalizing your situation, helping to bring it outside of you, where you can begin to see it for what it is and take action on it in a new positive way," Elana Marlo, Whole Person Certified Coach and founder of Elana Marlo Coaching, tells Bustle.
11. Give Meditation A Try
Even if you've never done it before, pause for five minutes and give meditation a try. "On a physical level, meditation slows down your heart rate, respiration, and lowers cortisol levels," sex and intimacy coach Xanet Pailet tells Bustle. "It has also been shown to have significant positive effects on moods."
While these tips won't necessarily fix what's got you down, or repair a bad situation, they can help you gain perspective and deal with a bad day in a healthier way.