5 Questions That Can Help You to Lift Yourself Out of a Bad Day

by Henrik Edberg


Image by Frederic Mancosu (license).



“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”
Henry David Thoreau

“If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry it’ll change. If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry it’ll change.”
John A Simone

Some days go well. Other days can feel lackluster. Some days may start out pretty good but turn bad.

What can you do when you are having a bad day?

I like to ask myself a few helpful questions. These questions help me to regain a more optimistic and constructive perspective when I feel like doing nothing, dwelling on a problem or when I am in a bad mood.

Sometimes they help me to switch my perspective quickly. Sometimes they at least help me to see a bit of sunlight at the horizon and slowly I make a transition from having bad day into something a bit better.

1. Am I making a mountain out of a molehill right now?

It’s very easy to fall into the habit of making mountains out of molehills. You think and think about a small problem until it becomes something that you believe may ruin your life.

To snap myself out such a thought pattern I like to question and reevaluate by using this question. It makes life lighter because few things are real mountains. Most issues tend to be  molehills exaggerated by overthinking, listening too much to other people’s pessimism or not asking yourself helpful questions.

2. Does anyone on the planet have it worse than me right now?

I like to use this one when I am stuck on focusing on the negatives, when I feel like a victim and like things are going against me.

The answer helps me to remember and understand that I have much to be grateful for in my life.

This question changes my perspective from a narrow, self-centred one into a much wider one. It helps me to lighten up about my situation.

3. What can I learn from this situation and is there an opportunity here to grow in some way?

Whenever I am having a setback with my blog or am having a bad day in another area of my life I pause. I then ask myself this question.

And in almost all cases I can learn something new and/or change the direction in my actions so that I or some part of my life becomes better. Many times the bad days have in retrospect turned out to be blessings in disguises because they have been points when I have changes things in some way and made my life better.

So, when I wind up in a negative situation nowadays there is also often some curiosity and optimism that bubbles up within me.

4. What is one small step I can take right now to get ball rolling and to start turning this situation around?

Instead of spending too much time on dwelling on the problem or negative feelings see what you can do about the situation right now. By just getting the ball rolling in some small way by taking an action right now or today I usually feel relieved and a whole lot better.

I feel good about myself and I feel good about being on a path towards a solution or towards improving my day.

5. Can I just accept that this is how I feel right now?

Some issues you may not be able to take action on today to start resolving.

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot feel better about what is happening.

I can often feel better in these difficult situations by asking the question above and by fully accepting that this is how I feel right now.

Now, it is often a natural impulse to try to deny negative feelings or thoughts when they show up in your life. Perhaps you try to not think about them, perhaps you try to push that feeling away.

I have found that in many cases it is actually better to just accept that the negative feelings and th0ughts are here right now (although it can be hard to sometimes convince your brain that this is a good option as it wants to deny or reject what is).

By accepting that you feel this way and that these thoughts are floating in your mind you stop feeding more energy into them and you stop making them strong. After a few minutes of fully taking in this uncomfortable feeling and thoughts and accepting that they are here then they start to lose steam. They just seem to float away and you once again feel more open and are able to think more clearly.

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{ 24 comments }

Erik D. Kennedy March 15, 2012 at 6:06 pm

“3. What can I learn from this situation and is there an opportunity here to grow in some way?”

There’s almost always a way to grow– because you can learn more from failures than you can from successes. A success tells you that you did some things right, but unless you try and do exactly the same thing over again, how much can you re-apply from that first success? Plus, how much of your success was due to luck?

Failures, on the other hand, give you at least one solid thing that you know to avoid. If you can consistently avoid that for the rest of your life, you’ve got it made. Each failure is a generous opportunity.

Henrik Edberg March 19, 2012 at 10:25 am

Good points, thank you for adding them.

Stuart - Limitless Believing March 15, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Hi Henrik,

It’s amazing how often we find ourselves slipping into bad days. The morning may bring a sense of happiness with us, but the events of the day can quickly turn that happy feeling into one of frustration, or stress, or despair.

I believe we have ‘bad days’ because we’re being reminded of a deeper issue that lies within us – it’s like touching an open wound. We have a limiting belief inside of us that lies dormant after we have spent time pushing it to the back of our mind. But when we encounter something in the day that reminds us, through association, of that limiting belief, it flares up again. What seems like an innocent occurrence has become a damaging experience.

To counter this, it’s good to ask ourselves “why”, particularly using the questions that you have given us here Henrik. Once we know why, and have gained that awareness, we can begin to work on transformation.

Henrik Edberg March 19, 2012 at 10:28 am

It could very well be true in many cases that it is a deeper issue we are actually reacting to. Thank you very much for adding your thoughts on bad days.

Anonymous March 15, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Hi Henrik,
I receive your feeds via e-mail. Your blog is inspirirng and your posts brighten up my day! You’re an amazing writer and it’s so great that you’re impacting thousands of people in a positive way.
Happy Thursday
http://findyoursparkle.blogspot.com/

Henrik Edberg March 19, 2012 at 10:29 am

Thank you very much! Happy Monday to you! :)

Geraldine March 16, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Such good advice Henrik. Problem for me, when I’m having a really bad day, it’s hard to focus on some of the suggestions you’ve made. I’m going to make an effort to try harder though. what usually happens , I see someone struggling with a wheelchair or other serious problems that are visible and that snaps me back to reality and how lucky I really am.

thanks for your great blog! love stopping in, always.

http://www.myreallifereviews.com
http://www.takeahappybreak.com

Henrik Edberg March 19, 2012 at 10:33 am

Yes, it does not always work to use these questions when you are having a bad day. But I have found that the more I use them, the more powerful they seem to become for me.

Stephanie March 17, 2012 at 2:42 am

Love it! Always inspiting, thanks for lighting up my day. I found this great book on Amazon I think you will love. It’s called, Discovering Your Personal Power – 27 Articles of Inspiration by Nikkos Zorbas. Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/wt0H2C
Keep up the good work!

Henrik Edberg March 19, 2012 at 10:29 am

Thanks a lot for the kind words and tip!

Noch Noch | be me. March 17, 2012 at 10:07 am

ahhh. i usually ask the first question and get a positive asnwer – and i go take it easy, have a cup of tea or a nap :)
Noch Noch

Henrik Edberg March 19, 2012 at 10:29 am

Sounds like a good habit. :)

Niki March 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm

This is a great article and very helpful! when you’re having a bad day think if there is anything you can learn from and then try to get out of that bad mood. Don’t let the little bad things ruin your day!

Henrik Edberg March 19, 2012 at 10:30 am

Thank you!

Marien Perez March 19, 2012 at 10:13 am

Hi!

I agree, asking questions is a fabulous way to get ourselves out of a state. We naturally like to answer questions we ask ourselves, and sometimes this happens almost without effort. But I think you’re right when you say it’s important to acknowledge how we are feeling, and that feeling is there for a reason. Maybe other questions to ask ourselves are:
- What is this feeling trying to tell me?
- Why is it here?
- What do I need that I’m not getting?
- How can I meet that need?

Best, Marien

Henrik Edberg March 19, 2012 at 10:31 am

Those are some helpful and clarifying additional questions, thank you for adding them!

Neil | Butterfield March 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Great post. Personally I struggle with point #2. I do not want to lift myself up on the back of other people’s woes. The rest of the points I agree with.

Galen Pearl March 21, 2012 at 9:46 pm

These are all great. Any one of them could shift your perspective. #5 especially speaks to me because I struggled with this one for so long. I denied feelings rather than just letting them be. Feelings are not so overwhelming if we just make friends with them. We don’t get so hooked into the story, so caught up in the drama.

This is full of great advice. Thanks!

Tathata March 22, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Dear Henrick,

I may have said this before, but I’ll say it again. I really like what you write, because it’s real to me. It’s attainable and understandable, unlike so much of the stuff like this out there.

I’ve actually printed this list and made a mini version to laminate and keep in my wallet. Thank you!

http://thatwhichreallyis.blogspot.com

Mike March 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Yes, you need to remember that neither bad times or good times last.

Danielle Bower Raymond March 25, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Thanks for sharing this! I really could have used it 2 days ago but better late than never right?! At least I will now have this for future reference!

jan March 27, 2012 at 6:21 am

hi. im feelin down for several months already. when i read your article, it MAY probably help me. ill try try your 5 questions now. if it makes me better, ill tell u about it. if it doesn’t, then i will just ignore this. thanks anyway..

Elizabeth Ann Stewart March 30, 2012 at 12:41 am

These questions are great! I think I sometimes get stuck in #1 making a mountain out of a molehill!

Something that I find valuable is to remember what my purpose is, what am I trying to achieve? Once I do that, I usually laugh at myself.

Sometimes though, bad stuff actually does happen and I go to #5 and accept the fact that sometimes I just feel bad. I had to realize that it is natural to feel the whole range of human emotions and that there is nothing wrong with feeling bad sometimes. Lol as strange as it sounds, it actually makes me feel better to realize it’s ok to feel bad. I stop worrying about the fact that I feel bad and just lighten up on myself!

Ranveer April 5, 2012 at 5:31 am

Bad times are just a phase of life, it doesnt last forever. those who stuck up to courage during these times eventually get over it

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