Monday, July 16, 2012

9 Ways to Turn Around a Bad Day

Had a lousy morning?  Things going wrong everywhere?   Someone was a jerk to you?

I've had my share of these recently.  Bad news, family in trouble, work chaos, fill in the "Oh No" blank.  And I will admit, sometimes it's easier than others to turn a day around.

Typically, starting the day with exercise will set me on the right path.  But sometimes I choose to snuggle with my little girl instead of get up and hit the treadmill.  

We've all had those rough starts.  Not to worry. The rest of your day need not be a disaster. It can in fact become one of your best.  Here's some possible solutions:

1. Remember that the past does not equal the future.
There is no such thing as a "run of bad luck." The reason people believe such nonsense is that the human brain creates patterns out of random events and remembers the events that fit the pattern.

2. Refuse to believe the whole day will be bad.
If you believe the rest of your day will be as challenging as what's already happened, then rest assured: You'll end up doing something (or saying) something that will make sure that your prediction comes true.

3. Get a sense of proportion.
Think about the big picture: Unless something life-changing has happened (like the death of a loved one), chances are that in two weeks, you'll have forgotten completely about whatever it was that has your shorts in a twist today.  My grandma says "they'll never know it a hundred years from now."

4. Change your threshold for "good" and "bad."
Decide that a good day is any day that you're above ground. Similarly, decide that a bad day is when somebody steals your car and drives it into the ocean. Those types of definitions make it easy to be happy–and difficult to be sad.

Someone told me recently that "I can't feed my family" is a gripe.  

"The rosebushes in the median are way too tall" is also a gripe.  The first one is legitimate, the second is not, but they will sound the same!

5.  Feed your brain some positive inputs
Your body and brain are in a feedback loop: A bad mood makes you tired, which makes your mood worse, and so forth. Interrupt the pattern with positive inputs.  Who always makes you happy?  Call them.   Who is an incredibly funny writer?  Read something.   Who inspires you?  Find them.

6. Be grateful - in writing.
The primary reason you're convinced it's a bad day is that you're focusing on whatever went wrong. However, for everything going badly, there are probably dozens of things going well. Grab a pen, and write down everything you are HAPPY about.  This sounds so corny, but it works!

I read some stats awhile back that if the world were a village of 100 people, then:
  • one person would have HIV/AIDS
  • one person would have a college education
  • 67 people would be hungry.
I always come back to this.  How come I am the ONE with a college education? I am not hungry.   I need to pull it together and do what one of those hungry people would do if they could be me for a day.

7. Retail therapy.
Go to Target and see what you can buy for under $7.   Do not blow your budget or believe for a minute that you can spend your way to happiness. But the fact is, people overspend because it tends to give us a moment of feel-good.   Retailers know this.   It won't make you geniunely happy, but it can get you over a bad-mood-hump.  Only take $7 cash in the store with you.  Now pretend it's your allowance and go crazy.
NOTE: this advice is sure to ruffle some feathers, so please read it again -- do not blow your budget and only take $7 cash in the store.

8.  Extreme nutrition
Go get an organic green smoothie.  Or a fresh carrot juice.  It works.

9. Extreme exercise.
If you are a walker, go run your guts out.  Even if you only last 30 seconds, tear it up for until you can't any more.  Rinse and repeat.

If you work a 9 - 5 office job, I realize number 8 and 9 may require a really early, long lunch.  Take it.  Your productivity in the end will be worth it.  Tell your co-workers you have an important health appointment and get going.

Happy Day~