5 Ways to Turn Around a Negative Day
- Nip it in the bud.
The quicker that you can recognize that your mood and outlook are low, the better. That acknowledgement and conscious awareness is the first step to turning it around. The earlier you catch yourself, the easier it is to change your mood.
If you can recognize it before even getting out of bed, you have the best chance for turning it around before your feet hit the floor!
A useful analogy for this is to imagine a car at the top of a hill. If we take the handbrake off, it will roll down the hill. If we’re standing in front of it, we can stop it with ease, just by putting our arms out. Yet, if it’s rolled half way down a steep hill, it isn’t going to stop so easily (and it would be unwise to try to stand in front of it to try to stop it).
So, be aware and catch it right away if you can, by checking in when you start to wake up and asking yourself how you’re doing. If it’s anything less than great, take action to turn it around, such as a simple meditation or breathing exercise like this one:
Breathing exercise: Take a deep breath in, filling your lungs and belly. As you inhale, imagine breathing in fresh energy and vitality. As you exhale, imagine breathing out your worries or concerns, letting them go as the breath exits your lungs and mouth. Repeat for several minutes or until you start to feel refreshed and revitalized.
- Pre-plan your day.
Usually, if you’re feeling unhappy in the morning, it’s because you went to bed worrying about something or you are already feeling low. If that’s the case, then I suggest re-focusing your mind on how you would like the next day or the day ahead to be, rather than dwelling on what may not go well or what hasn’t been working.
So often, we actually program ourselves to continue to have another negative day with our negative self-talk. Instead, try starting your day with some positive statements:
“I choose to have a good day today!”
“I’m having lunch with my good friend today!”
“The sun is shining & it’s going to be warm today!”
Notice that those positive statements don’t need to be major. They can simply be small, positive distractions from your negative self-talk.
But, what if you don’t catch it early enough? What if you suddenly realize that you are already in the middle of an ‘awful day’? What then?
Here are a few more tips.
- Take a break.
If you feel like you are in a mental quagmire or you are overwhelmed by the happenings of the day, try to take a break. Think of something else entirely, preferably something fun or uplifting, even just for a few minutes.
Distract yourself as much as you can. If you can physically get a change of scene and take a walk, that really helps. If not, at least try to move your body (maybe a little dance break) or sit and meditate to change your frame of mind (even 5 minutes doing the breathing exercise I shared earlier can be of benefit).
If you’re at work, take a little bathroom break. You can easily do a quick breathing exercise in a bathroom stall!
- Get a sense of perspective.
Whatever is bothering you, it can seem like a huge deal in the moment, but will it be a huge issue for you in five or 10 years time? Probably not.
It can help to put your day in perspective, to know that tomorrow is a new day and that what seems overwhelming today probably won’t matter much even a few weeks or months later.
Think back to something that bothered you six months ago. Chances are that it’s resolved by now. With that in mind, look at all the energy you’re focusing on what’s up for you right now. Maybe, you could instead start to trust that it WILL all work out in the end.
- Choose differently.
Remember that you get to choose how you react to your circumstances. Even if you are having a lousy day, you get to choose whether or not you allow those situations to get you down!
It is possible to choose to be optimistic, to choose to be happy anyway, even when things don’t seem to be going your way. Are you wiling to try that?
You can start by thinking of things that are going well in your life, things that you are grateful for. You can’t be happy and sad at the same time, so if you gravitate to happy thoughts, memories or experiences (even imagined ones) you just can’t stay feeling bad.
So, please DECIDE to have a positive day!