How to make a bad day better
I very seldom have a bad day! I’ve been blessed with a positive attitude. When I bounce out of bed in the morning, I know it’s going to be a great day – and I’m very rarely disappointed.
I also know we all have bad days from time to time! Maybe you got a late start heading to work and the traffic was horrendous. Your first two phone calls were from upset clients. Your boss jumped on you for a lower-than-expected sales month and then a co-worker said something that didn’t feel good. It all adds up to a day getting off to a bad start.
Whatever the reasons might be, bad days are a part of life. However, we have a choice in how we react to them. One option is to dwell on the circumstances and to let our negative emotions persist throughout the day. I think you’d agree this is unpleasant and doesn’t help the situation. Your mood will stay lousy all day and the chances are good your bad mood will spread to some of your other teammates. Just like positive attitudes are contagious so are bad moods.
So what can we do to help make a bad day better? We can take the initiative and find ways to improve our mental state of mind. You’ll find this choice is empowering and positive. It puts us in control of our own actions and emotions.
These “bad days” can happen at work, at home, at play and even on vacations and holidays.
The following are several tricks that work for me and help get me back to my normal, positive self. I’ll bet they also would work for you.
Reach out: Touch base with a trusted friend, family member or work colleague and ask if they have time for a cup of coffee or short chat. Often, talking about what is bothering you can help release the negative feelings. Whoever you’re chatting with might give you a different perspective. What’s bothering you likely will not be as bad from their point of view. If there’s no one available to share your thoughts with, try writing down what’s caused this mood. When you list why you’re upset, you can change your perspective, release some of those negative feelings and put the situation behind you.
Go for a walk: I learned this one a long time ago. If I was having a bad day at work, I would ask our bookkeeper if I could take our daily receipts down to the bank just a couple blocks away. The sunshine, fresh air and sounds of the birds chirping in the trees gave me a big lift. Just a five-minute walk around your building could be the mental break you need.
Achieve a small victory: Try finishing a quote you’ve been working on. Call a client and tell them their order is complete and ready for delivery. Clean the clutter on and around your desk. Research shows making even minor progress on meaningful work enhances your mood and your motivation. Plus, it should help diminish your negative mood.
Be grateful: This one probably helps me the most. When I stop and consider how very blessed I am with my beautiful family, great friends, good health, continued involvement in our terrific industry, ability to hike and bike, it reminds me how fortunate I am. No matter how bad I think my day is going I always feel better when I reflect on all the good things in my life. I’m guessing you, too, may have an awfully lot to be grateful for. So when you’re having one of those occasional bad days take a moment and reflect on the many good things in your life, at work, home and play.
Do something positive for others: Doing little things for someone else can do wonders for that temporary “down” mood. Make coffee for your coworkers, clean up the kitchen or restroom, help a teammate with a quote, clean a display or help an elderly client out to their car. The opportunities are endless. Recently, my neighbor was away, so I mowed his lawn, not because I had to but because I wanted to. I’m sure you’ve experienced having a team member do something nice for you. I’m betting it felt good to you and to them. There’s an old saying, “Little things mean a lot!” Give it a try!
Give yourself a pat on the back: It always feels good when someone else gives us a sincere compliment or when others recognize our talents or skills. It tends to have a positive effect on our mood and performance. When your boss says, “Thanks for a job well done,” it goes a long way toward improving morale and motivation. This is why it is important for you to praise yourself. Identify the good things you’ve accomplished in your job such as meeting sales and gross-profit goals, getting your quotes out in a timely manner, getting testimonials and referrals from clients and helping train a new team member. Make a list of the things you’ve accomplished, then refer to your list and give yourself some well-deserved praise.
Get some exercise: I’m an exercise-oholic so this one has always been easy for me. However, I know this isn’t easy for everyone. Finding time can be tough, but it’s a well-known fact exercise can improve your mood. Go to the gym, do some stretches or take that brisk walk I talked about earlier. Just 10 or 15 minutes can have a positive effect on your mood. I know some folks that use deep breathing and/or meditation to help them feel more relaxed and peaceful.
List the pros and cons: Benjamin Franklin used this to help him make decisions. I started doing this years ago and it’s amazing how much this helps me put things in perspective. No matter how bad your day may be going there probably are a number of good things you can list on the pro side. And I’m betting the positives will outnumber the negatives.
Put things in perspective: No matter how bad your day is going, it’s unlikely the events that caused this to happen will alter the course of your life in the long term. Ask yourself a simple question, “Will this problem(s) matter to me next week or next year?” In most cases the answer to this will be no. So this simple question really can help put a bad day into its proper perspective.
In summary, everyone has bad days from time to time. It’s a normal part of life. Your choice is whether to dwell on the negative or do something to put a smile back on your face.