“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”
Henry David Thoreau
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
You are having a bad day. Things feel off, uninspired or negative in some kind of way.
What can you do?
Well, instead of letting that day drag you down you can realise that you always have a choice. You can choose how to feel and what to do. So you can choose to improve your day by doing a few simple things.
This is a personal list of such things that I will use to refer back to whenever I’m having a bad day. I think it will be quite helpful as it is easy to forget about the ways that you can change a bad or mediocre day when you are stuck in it.
You don’t have to use all the suggestions to improve your day. One may be all you need to put yourself back on the right track.
Just do it.
Of course some – or a lot – of the time you won’t feel like doing what you know you really want to do. So what do you do? You do it anyway.
Even though you don’t feel like it. This is a ridiculously important thing, at least for me.
And it’s a habit you cultivate. You have to do it over and over to get your mind to get that you can do what you want despite what you feel or think.
Because you’re not your thoughts or emotions. You are just the observer of them. That can be hard to understand at times when you don’t feel like taking action though since you may have spent several decades of your life totally identified with your thoughts and feelings. It takes time to reprogram those old, ingrained habits. Over time you’ll be able to remember this and just do things more and more consistently. Read more about this in Just do it!
It’s sometimes easy to forget how much the lack of food can affect you. If I go for too long without my next meal my blood sugar levels drop and I become easily irritable and I can’t concentrate on anything.
Get enough sleep.
Another fundamental that I think a lot of people get too little off. And that can have a big effect on your mood, your ability to direct your thoughts and handle all kinds of things in your life. I don’t take naps but just lying down for a while can help if you’ve gotten too little sleep last night. And of course, make sure that you get enough sleep tonight.
Working out can make a massive difference in your day. I was for instance feeling lazy, tired and totally uninspired yesterday afternoon. So what did I do? I worked out with free weights for about a half hour. I didn’t feel like doing it before I started but instead of letting that stop me I went into the present moment and just started working out anyway.
After the workout I felt powerful, focused and alert. The difference to how I felt before the workout was almost like the difference between night and day.
This suggestion and the two previous ones may seem very obvious. But I believe that many of the problems we face tend to lose much of their power or vanish completely if we have these three things handled. Don’t ignore the basic fundamentals and try to replace them with fancy tips and techniques. You need to have a solid foundation in your life.
Ask the right questions.
If you are asking yourself disempowering questions like:
“Why did this happen to me? “, “How can get out of doing this?” and “What are all the awful things about this?” then of course you are going to feel lousy and get very little done.
If you on the other hand start asking yourself useful questions about the situation you are in or the day you are having then you can quickly change how you feel and get yourself into taking action-mode. You become empowered instead of getting stuck in victim thinking. A few good questions are: “What is awesome about this situation?” and “Will this matter 5 years from now?”. Check out a few more really helpful questions in this article.
We may often be lead to believe that getting value from someone else is the best thing ever. And it can be awesome, no doubt about it. But the funny thing is that giving value to someone else nowadays pretty much always makes me feel better and more empowered and positive than getting value. If I feel bad then giving value to someone – for instance by writing a blogpost – will pretty much always make me feel a whole lot better. And it puts me into an active mode rather than a passive mode after I’m done writing.
What is value? It may be bringing a positive attitude and vibe into interactions, offering useful advice or knowledge to someone, just offering a listening ear to someone who needs it, cheering someone up, hugs or helping someone out with moving, cooking or cleaning up.
Check out this article for 4 awesome reasons to give value in your everyday life. And a few more examples of the value that you can give.
Try something new.
One way to turn a mediocre or bad day into a better one is simply to try something new. Perhaps a meal or kind of food you haven’t ever tried before. Or some kind of music you’ve never listened to before. Or some kind of activity you haven’t participated in so far.
Cultivating and strengthening your just do it attitude is very useful for this since you may not feel like expanding your comfort zone.
When you expand your comfort zone you tend to feel good about yourself. You feel like this day isn’t just another boring day in existence but actually something that is quite exciting. You feel alive.
What is your best tip for turning a bad day into a better one?
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