Have you ever had a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day? Like Alexander in the children's book? Many people experience illness, grief and loss, I am NOT minimizing these issues, these people had a very very bad day. This is for those of us, who have bad days, when it really was not the worst day. When we arrived at the gas station only to realize we left our wallet at home. Then we walked into the office and realized our keys were in another bag and had to wait an hour for security to come and let us in the office. This then made us late for our meeting, because the flash drive with the presentation was locked in the office. The presentation was not the best, because we did not review it and make final changes, because we were sitting in the hallway waiting for the key. It is not even noon yet... and at lunch you burn the roof of your mouth on pizza. It is definitely one of those days. You can see how a day starting off this way could leave you in a stressed and frustrated space.
It is the little things that can make or break a day for most people. One extra small thing going wrong could be the difference between an ordinary day or a bad day. Why do we let this happen? Many times it is because we fall victim to the villain of Stress and his sidekick Frustration. It is usually when we start feeling frustrated that we realize, "I am stressed" and somewhere along the way, today took a turn to the dark side.
It helps if we are aware of what is going on, when it is going on. Early intervention is important and can make the difference between a good day and a bad day. The earlier we realize that we are stressed we can make a conscious effort to change our outlook on the rest of the day and implement stress reduction strategies. Be an active participant in your day, try not to let your day happen to you.
5 steps to turning around your day (if you want too):
1. Embrace your bad day: It is okay to feel your emotions, all of them, both negative and positive. It is okay to be upset, stressed and down, even if you do not know why you are feeling that way. It is also okay to stay in a down or bad mood for the day as long as you are not taking things out on others, as this behavior will hurt your relationships.
2. Me Time: Go for a walk or take a time out. Go somewhere you can relax and think. Listening to music can be soothing and can lift your mood. Try some relaxation breathing, yoga or meditation if you enjoy these things. Do something you enjoy while you are reflecting on your day.
3. Exercise: This can help increase your mood and pull you out of the doldrums. Do something you enjoy such as going to the gym, running or biking. Sometimes it helps to exercise with a friend or workout buddy.
4. Phone a friend: Call a loved one or someone in your support system. Processing your day can do wonders in turning it around. Discussing your day with someone also helps with gaining perspective on the events of the day.
5. Let the Love In: Make a mental list of all of the wonderful things in your life, everything that makes you happy and smile. Thinking about all of the goodness in your life as well as everything you are grateful for, can help you feel better. Try to focus on the positive things in your life. Hugging loved ones, children and pets (trees are optional) can help.
Many times it is the rushing around that has us forgetting important things and making errors that we usually would not make. We can still turn the day/evening around if that is what we choose to do. However, it is okay to be in a bad mood for a few hours or a day. Your self talk should say something like "tomorrow will be a better day." It also helps to realize that if burning the roof of your mouth was the worst part of your day, then you had a pretty good day!
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for therapy or treatment. Please consult with your physician before starting an exercise program.
Dr. Deb is a successful Psychologist who practices in New York City. She is an Anxiety Specialist who works with adolescents and adults providing both individual and couples counseling.