Having the Worst Day Ever? Here Are Some Tips to Get Out of It
You have had one of those days, right? Of course you have, everyone has. Sometimes these days pile up one right after another and can last for weeks or months. It can be debilitating and can cause even little frustrations to feel enormous pressure on you. You got a flat tire, your boss is a jerk, your kid is acting up (again), you have deadlines that are approaching, your dog is sick, you’re sick, and so on. Would you believe that your brain can be to blame for the pile up you’re having?
Yes! Your brain has an alarm function and 2/3 of it is to detect bad news. You can thank your cavemen ancestors who needed this function desperately to watch for saber-toothed tigers and fires or whatever mother-nature had to dole out. You do not need this alarm function in the same way. It is a spectacular thing to have because it will help you in the event of an emergency. However, it also fires off at every perceived danger which can include your flat tire, your kid having a bad day, and your boss acting like a jerk.
Any negative stimuli can cause you to feel alarm. Psychologists say it takes three to five positive experiences to thwart of one negative experience. Imagine if your alarm is firing off five times a day. You need 25 positive experiences to help overcome that worst day ever. That is a ton of positive reinforcement. If you are a parent or a manager, listen up because your employees and children need this too and you can help. How is it possible to get 25 positive experiences in one day or even in the course of a week?
- Read Happy Books. Read for just 10-15 minutes a day. Choose books with positive affirmations. There are many books available now about happiness.
- Read or listen to the audio file of Norman Vincent Peale’s Power of Positive Thinking. He has a story about a man who came to him down and out with nothing to look forward to in life and helps him through this situation.
- Make a list of all you have to be the things you have to be thankful for and read them out loud or place them somewhere you can see them. Make a calendar out of these so you see them every month. You may be thinking you have nothing, but I guarantee you have at least five things to be thankful for in life. Listen to Mr. Peale’s book noted above and he will give you 10 ideas!
- Watch a happy movie. My favorite if Family Man with Nicolas Cage. It is about a man who has everything from expensive sports car to high-rise penthouse in New York City. He wakes up one day in suburbia with two kids, a wife, and he works at a tire store. I will not spoil the movie for you by telling you the moral of the story, but I bet you can guess it has a happy ending.
- Listen to upbeat music. Get in your car, turn your favorite song on full blast, put your arm out the window and wave it up and down like you did when you were a kid. It is invigorating!
- Start a blessings jar. Each day something good happens, make a note and put it in your blessings jar. When you are having a bad day, open the jar and read through your blessings. This should give you many positive affirmations.
- Visualize good memories. Visualization is a very strong action to help you overcome negativity. It is hard once you are feeling down to think of anything good, so the best thing to do is write down three to five good memories in a book or journal that you can refer to when you are in a rut. Some examples include the day you graduated from high school or college. The day you had your first child. Your first date or the date you got married. The day your child took his or her first steps. Whatever your fondest memories are, write them down and you will have something to refer to when you need it.
- Determine the cause or causes of your bad day. By naming your bad day, instead of just dwelling on a bad day, it is easier to develop an action plan to overcome it. This is a technique coaches take to help their clients work through problems. Once you list the causes of your bad day, you can rank them on a scale of 1-10 to determine how impactful they are to you.
- Call someone. Phone your mom or your friend. Talk to someone who knows you well and is willing to listen. Let them know you are having a bad day and you want help talking yourself out of it.
- Go for a walk. Exercise helps increase your endorphins and serotonin. Both of these have physiological effects on your body and mental state. A 10-15 minute walk will do wonders for you.
- Practice positive attitude every day. Studies show that people with positive attitudes build a natural resilience to negative stimuli.
Shawn Achor author of The Happiness Advantage says studies show people with positive attitudes have 23% fewer health-related illnesses. Practice positive attitude for your mental and physical health and you are sure to eliminate the worst day ever syndromes from your life.