Photo courtesy of Roy Costello
For me, today was one of those days where it felt like no matter what I did, the world was conspiring against me. I felt almost invisible and powerless to stop the cascading negative events that just kept coming. Now it is nearing evening and I am going to attempt to change course in order to end on a good note. I’m not sure if it’s going to work, but I am really, really hoping it does, mostly because I like feeling happy, but also because I like to feel in control of how my day plays out, and not the other way around.
Let’s face it: for some of us – having a bad day can easily affect our motivation and drive. It’s all too easy to throw in the towel and let one bad day snowball into a serious setback. Without making a conscious effort to pull ourselves out of the funk, the quicksand-like pull of the blahs can easily suck us into an endless case of the drearies. I know some people who never seem to get downhearted, no matter what life throws at them, but I am not so lucky. When I have a crap-tastic day, I need to work hard to improve my mood in order to stop the negative domino effect from ruining an entire week or more.
Over the years, I have developed strategies for rescuing myself from the quicksand before it gets a secure hold on me. Sometimes, it’s hard to recognize that you’re having a bad day until you’re at your boiling point and about to scream. Ideally, we want to have enough self-awareness to note that the day is quickly deteriorating, and take steps to improve it before it is a lost cause. Some of the things I do in an attempt to maintain a semblance of sanity might also work for you.
- Give yourself a break.
When good days go bad, don’t expect anything too demanding from yourself, and ask for some time alone if possible.
- Think about how much worse it could be.
Picture yourself in a much more hopeless situation, and try to remind yourself that your day really wasn’t a total disaster, and that there are people suffering from much more significant problems than the not-so-awesome day you are having.
- Don’t rehash.
Instead of repeating the ill-fated events over and over again, stay in the present. Try enjoying that time alone I mentioned above without stewing about all of the things that put you in this mood. If you need to vent, choose one person, let it all out, and then stop talking about it.
Pay particular attention to your thought process during this time; recognize troubling thoughts as you have them, and simply release them. Tell them they can go away now; you are done with them and they don’t affect you anymore.
It helps to have a plan in place that you can refer to during difficult times. Try writing down the above steps and anything additional that helps you personally when you’re feeling desperate. On bad days, consciously take yourself through each step, making a real effort to be mindful of the fact that the person ultimately controlling your mood is you.