By Cheryl Steinberg
Woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Having one of those days that’s bad before it even starts? When you decide you’re having a bad day, the first thing to do is to un-decide that. Otherwise, it’ll just become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But, if you find you need a little help un-convincing yourself about just how bad your day is going, here are 16 ways to turn a bad day around.
You might be surprised at just how much you forget to breathe throughout the day. I mean, of course you are breathing, otherwise you wouldn’t be alive but, there’s a difference between taking shallow breaths (which we often do) versus deep, belly breaths. Remind yourself to breathe throughout the day, every day.
I get it, meditating is actually pretty hard. But it comes with practice – daily practice. Be gentle with yourself and just try to add a minute to your practice each time you meditate. The long-term effects on mind, body, and spirit are well worth the effort.
Again, practicing is the best way to get in the habit of praying. This one didn’t come easy to me at first and this is common to many others. Don’t beat yourself up. Just try.
#4. Treat yo’ damn self
Take yourself out to a movie or your favorite restaurant. Maybe splurge on a new clothing item – just don’t go overboard. The best way to treat yourself, though, is to do something that makes you feel good about yourself. Maybe get a manicure or go for a massage.
#5. Pet a kitten (or puppy)
There is actual science behind this. Spending time with, and petting, a lovable animal is calming and soothing. And therefore, it reduces stress levels. Plus, who wouldn’t want to spend the afternoon with a furry little bucket of love?
#6. Go to the gym
Working out releases feel good hormones called endorphins so you can actually make yourself feel good – without using a substance. Another benefit is that you can take out that rage on the treadmill or punching bag and not have to apologize – or catch an assault charge – afterwards.
#7. Take a Mental Health Day (if you haven’t missed work/school in a while)
Maybe take the day off – as long as this is not a pattern you’re already in. If you’ve been working hard and not taking any time for yourself, it might be time to have a day where you can recharge your batteries.
#8. Take a nice steamy shower, or hot bath
Ahhh yes. This is a great way to turn a bad day around. The hot water will help relieve muscle tension and relax you enough to help you clear your mind.
#9. Listen to some good tunes
If you’re like me, music speaks to your soul. When I’m feeling angry or down, putting in my headphones and listening to my favorite songs makes me feel better instantly.
#10. Give out hugs (and by default, you will be receiving them)
There’s a hormone called oxytocin, which is associated with falling in love and feeling trust towards others, and it gets released when you embrace someone.
#11. Unplug from social media
Facebook and Instagram are the worstttt when it comes to issues of self-esteem and feeling inferior. With all the humble-bragging that goes on, you see people leading these amazing lives. But, of course, what you don’t see is all the not-so-good parts – you know, the stuff that we all go through. Unplug and unwind every so often. It’ll do you good.
#12. Walk barefoot in the grass or at the beach
Getting back to nature is a great way of improving your mood and your day. Walking barefoot rather than in shoes can help you connect to the earth beneath your feet and reminds you of what really matters in life.
#13. Watch your favorite comedy
Laughter truly is the best medicine to cure anything that’s threatening to wreck your day. If you’re not in the movie-watching mood, you can find jokes online or watch silly youtube videos. Laughter is good stuff and again, boosts your mood.
#14. Help someone
When you’re having a bad day, one of the best ways to turn that around is to shift your focus from ‘self’ to ‘other.’ Helping another person will get you out of your own head and make you feel good at the same time. Another bonus is that someone else is benefitting from the situation, too.
#15. Phone (don’t text) a good friend
Talk it out. And I mean talk. Texting really is no way to truly connect with another human being. Pick up the phone and call your bestie or someone else you trust and have a nice, long conversation. It doesn’t even have to be about your bad day. Connecting with someone you care about has its own benefits. After all, humans are social beings by nature. So, even if we want to be alone – which is OK from time to time – we also crave the company of others.
#16. Make a gratitude list
Simple. Sit down and list all the things you are grateful for having in your life. You can’t be salty and grateful at the same time.
Has a bad day turned into a bad week, a bad month, year, decade? It’s never too late to turn it around. If alcohol and other drugs have become a constant in your life and you don’t know how else to cope, change is possible. Call an Addiction Specialist today at toll-free 1-800-951-6135.