How to Stop a Bad Day in its Tracks

Are you having one of those days when everything goes wrong? The alarm fails to wake you up and the shower is cold. You grab a coffee on the way out the door and spill it all over you while stuck in a traffic jam on the way to work. Now you are running late, cannot find your phone and have coffee-stained clothes.

Not a good way to start the day. But you have a choice. You can either turn it around or wallow in your bad luck. Feeling grumpy, irritable and miserable will probably make everyone around you feel the same way. And they will not thank you for that.


What causes bad days?

So what causes bad days? Is there a cause? Well, there are two main ones.

The first is that when you feel negative or are in a bad mood, you see things from this perspective. It skews how you think and react which can be more negative than usual. For example, when you are running late and get stuck in traffic, your irritation and frustration rises and bubbles over to affect other situations and people. Once you become negative, you look for the negatives in everything. And when you do see the negatives you can feel self-satisfied you were right about how bad everything is. This can get you thinking negatively. So much so that you miss positive opportunities.

And then you get the domino effect. Where you go from one disaster to another which puts you on the watch for the next negative event. This sets up a cycle that reinforces seeing, feeling and experiencing bad things. For example, spilling coffee on your computer then having to wait for someone to help deal with situation. In the meantime, you cannot get any work done as you are without a computer. So, you try to arrange a temporary replacement but there are not any available. And all the time there is pressure to get a presentation finished by the end of the day. Complete frustration. You may even feel if another thing goes wrong, it will break you.

Shaking off a bad day can be easier said than done. But it is possible by taking a few simple actions. Here are some suggestions.

Give yourself a positive pep talk

Give yourself a positive pep talk. Tell yourself, “Okay, that was not good. Moving on, the rest of the day will get better” or “It has been the day from hell so far. It is going to get better.” Make the conscious decision that the negative part of your day is over. Take a short break to reset. Get a cappuccino or have a laugh at online funnies. Or phone a friend for a quick chat.-And do not say you do not have time. It is a 10-minute investment to turn your day around.


Practice gratitude

Practicing gratitude is easy and fast to do at anytime, anywhere. And is extremely powerful.

It is as simple as writing down three things you feel grateful for. For example: I am grateful for:

  • Having a home to go to at the end of the day.
  • The ability to make choices.
  • Maintaining my independence.
  • Being able to afford the cost of living.

Write down two or three affirmations. They should start with “I can” or “I am”:

  • I can do a great job today regardless of the obstacles.
  • I am not going to get stressed.
  • I can achieve my goals.
  • I am feeling relaxed.

What is something that would make today a great day? Write it down. For example:

  • Lunch with friends.
  • Going for a walk during my lunch break.
  • Everyone home for dinner.
  • Phoning a friend.

Take action

For some people, practicing gratitude can make you dive deeper into negativity. Take action instead. Do that thing you have been procrastinating over. Do something nice for someone. It will make you feel good because you achieved something positive which improves your mood.


Avoid being unrealistic

Starting the day with unrealistic expectations can set you up for a bad day. And it can only get worse if your expectations continue to be unrealistic. For example, you expect the supermarket to be overflowing with people in the late afternoon and for shopping to be a hassle. If it is not busy, then you will be happy. But if you expect it to be quiet and it is busy, then you are going to feel frustrated. So, if your day starts off with impossible goals, then your day may spiral downhill rapidly before lunch time. Instead, have a few achievable goals.

Use positive self-talk

Consciously watch out for when your self-talk turns negative. We are all guilty of beating ourselves up when we are down. “Why me?’ “I am so stupid.” “Why can’t I kick my butt into gear? Take a moment and consider how you would talk to a friend. You would not call them stupid when they are having a bad day. Would you? So be kind to yourself. Treat yourself as a friend.

Replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk. “Everyone has bad days sometimes. I can turn it around.” Or “everyone makes occasional mistakes that does not make me stupid.” Or even, “I have lacked motivation lately. I will do one thing on my long list of things to-do list a day.” This will renew your energy and your day should improve because of your new mindset.

Change your perception

Change your perception. Look at things differently. What are the positives? Ask yourself how you would feel about the situation in a year from now. Stop and collect yourself. Change how you see the situation before compounding your frustration with your mother’s advice causing the dog to jump on you with muddy paws because of your inattention. And this all results in picking a fight with the shop assistant through pure frustration.


Take a break

Take a break. Break the cycle. Go outside. Take a quick walk. Breathe the fresh air. Clear your head. And none of that “but I’m too busy” nonsense. Think about it. You are too busy not to. Everything will compound if you try to push through without taking a 10-minute time out to reset.

Do something positive

Do something positive to help turn the situation around. And, when it works, you can feel good because you have made progress. Now move on to other areas of your life that you want to change.

Just take small steps. Small changes lead to big ones. Step by step. It changes your focus from feeling stressed and thinking narrow-mindedly to having energy that flows.

Just breathe

Calm down and just breathe. Focus on your breathing and the beating of your heart. When you get upset or stressed, your breathing quickens and gets shallower.

Have a quiet place you can go to where you can be alone for a short time to just breathe. Focus on your breathing to quieten your mind. Do not allow any distractions to break your focus.

Pay attention to the air slowly filling your lungs through your nose to a count of four. Hold it for a count of seven and breathe out through your mouth to the count of eight. Take notice of your heart beating and the sensation of breathing. Keep breathing deeply in and out for 5 to 10 minutes.

Know the difference between what you can and cannot change

Look at why and what upset you. Know the difference between what you can and cannot change. What do you have the control over that you can change? Is it important enough to spend your time and energy changing? If it is not worth changing, is it worth letting it irritate or upset you? Probably not. Make a decision about what is worth the effort to change. And do not let the rest upset you.

Let it out your frustration

Let out your frustrations to a trusted friend. Avoid talking to friends on Facebook. It is not really connecting. And do not vent to a co-worker. It is likely to get back to the source and start all sorts of rumours.

Do something unusual. Phone a friend. Even arrange to meet up in person for a chat. It is good to remind yourself you have good connections outside the situation. They can give you a different perspective and, all of a sudden, things do not seem so bad.

Be aware of early warning signs

Be aware of the early warning signs that your resilience is wearing down. Maybe you are getting irritable for no good reason or running out of patience. Stop for a moment to identify why. What is really bothering you? Once you know the cause, you can take action to solve the problem.

What is the lesson?

Look for the lesson after you have a bad day. What do you mean? What lesson? There is a lesson in everything. How did your day start? What were the goals for the day? How did you handle any problems or challenges? What triggers your downward spiral into negativity? When are you more sensitive – before or after lunch?

When you have a series of bad days or have them often, look for the common denominator between them. What is the common trigger? For example, if you are in the habit of working through the day without a break, hunger can make you irritable. Take a break to eat lunch.

Whenever you find yourself having a bad day, look after yourself. Do something fun to break the cycle. Be open to the possibilities the rest of the day could bring.

We are here to help

Everyone has bad days. It is how you deal with them that matters. When you have more bad days than good ones, you may have to look deeper. It could put you at risk of developing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

With some simple changes to your life, you can choose to turn your bad day around. Stop negative thinking in its tracks. But if it has become a problem or caused mental health issues, it is time to turn it around. Time to do something positive about it. Seek help. You do not have to go through it alone. The sooner you get help, the sooner bad days may become rarer and rarer.

Reach out

If you are struggling, consider reaching out to our professionals. When you are not coping, contact us to discover how we aim to help get your life back on track. But if you reach a crisis point, call us immediately. We are here to support you. We may help you deal with things quickly.

We can work with you over the phone, via Skype or in our Spas. Book in today for my Emotional Empowerment Program. I have an introductory offer for just $79 so you may start taking back control of your life. We aim to help you cope with any mental health challenges. Our facilitators may alleviate the effects of depression and anxiety, so you have more self-esteem and start to feel optimistic and happy again.

Let me help alleviate the effects of mental health issues

My Emotional Empowerment Program has helped many people like you for more than a decade. My aim is to help you replace bad with good days and a new hope for the future. A future filled with happiness, peace and contentment in weeks not years. Listen to what Jake has to say about my program after only a few sessions.


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