9 Powerful Tips to Help You Turn a Bad Day Around

how to turn a bad day around

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

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”
Robert Louis Stevenson

Some days are great, better than you would have expected when you rolled out of the bed in the morning.

Quite a few days are just good and OK days.

And then we have the other ones. The days that just wind up being bad.

What do you do then? I used to let them drag me down and I often wound up having not just one but a couple of bad days because of whatever happened.

Nowadays I do things a bit differently. And this week I'd like to share how I do that.

This is 9 tips and habits that help me to turn a bad day around. Most of the time I use more than one of these habits to do that.

1. Breathe.

I usually start turning my day around with shaking things up by using my body in some way.

The first thing I almost always do is to just breathe. I breathe deeply through my nose by using my belly. I focus only on the air going in and out for 1-2 minutes.

This calms my body and mind.

2. Do a power pose.

Then I sometimes follow that up by striking what Amy Cuddy calls a power pose for about 2 minutes (check out her TED talk, it’s really good).

The simplest way to strike a power pose is to stand up confidently like Wonder Woman or Superman with your legs apart, head up and your hands on your hips.

It might sound odd but it can really change how you feel in a quick and positive way.

3. Work out.

Another habit I use several times a week to shake things up by using my body is to lift free weights in my home. I do this for about 30-40 minutes and it helps me to release tensions and worry.

And after I am done I feel more powerful, focused and energetic.

4. Hug.

Just by hugging someone quickly you can feel safer and more optimistic again.

And an embrace that lasts 30 seconds or a minute or more can recharge your batteries and release an unexpectedly large amount of stress and tensions.

5. Pet an animal.

If you don't have anyone close by to hug during a bad day then pet your cat, dog, bird etc. It has a very similar calming and stress reliving effect.

And it makes your animal companion happy and that in turn will boost your mood too.

6. Find a new viewpoint.

The body tips above often work well to change my perspective by altering my emotional state and energy level.

Sometimes something more is needed though.

So I start looking more actively for a better and more helpful viewpoint on the situation at hand by asking myself a couple of questions.

Three of my most commonly used questions that help me with that are:

  • Will this matter 5 years from now?
  • Who cares?
  • What is one small action, one small and practical step I can take to start turning this day or situation around?

7. Go out into nature and enjoy the summer.

Leave your couch or workspace for a little while.

Talk a walk and just soak in the summer sun and warmth. Enjoy the birds singing and the nature blossoming.

Just being out there in nature tends to make it easier to think optimistically again and to start looking for practical solutions or upsides.

Or you can simply be there in the moment fully and let your thoughts about for example work rest for a while (and then later on you can return to that with fresh eyes and a calmer mind).

Another upside is that the sunshine and exercise during this 20-30 minute pause in my day also recharges my energy.

8. Accept what is.

One thing that sometimes work better than just about anything is simply to accept what is at this moment.

To not deny or try to push away negative feelings or thoughts that show up. Even though you may feel an impulse to do so.

Instead, just accept what is right now.

The thoughts and feelings within you.

And just be with them fully and observe them flowing through you.

By doing so you are not giving up.

No, because when you accept what is then you stop feeding the negative thoughts in your mind with more energy. And so they become weaker.

They start to lose their grip on you after a while and then they float away. And so you feel more open and are able to think more clearly again.

9. Remember: sometimes a bad day will just be a bad day.

Now, from time to time, even if you use several of the techniques above – one after the other – you won’t be able to turn a bad day around.

That has been my experience at least.

Because no matter what habits you adopt, life will never be perfect, positive or awesome all the time.

And this website was never about living some kind of life that only exists in a perfect dream anyway.

This website is about replacing unhelpful habits with better ones.

It is about raising the percentages of times where you can handle things in a better way. In your regular, everyday life. And when bigger things happen.

Because that will make a huge difference.

But still, life will have natural valleys.

And a bad day will sometimes just be a bad day. And that’s OK. That’s life.

But the interesting thing is this: if you accept that life is like this sometimes – and let go of the dream of perfection – then you’ll create less suffering for yourself and life will become lighter, simpler and happier.

So in the long run there is an upside even to a bad day that you may not be able to turn around.


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Thanks for your really helpful and honest advice on how to turn a bad day around. I think a lot of us think we should be happy and ‘up’ pretty much all the time. And that would be great, but of course life is not always like that. And it’s kind of scary when a bad day or two comes along as we can also have a tendency to think things won’t improve but like everything else in life it passes and the sun comes out once more. Your tips are spot on and I apply most of them but sometimes No. 8 is the most helpful as not fighting it and just knowing it will pass is just best. Thanks again and best wishes to all. Cath

  • Really honest advice! Wants some more article about it. I faced some serious struggle in my life, but never stop reading. I am learning new things everyday. Thank you.

  • Very well thought and beautifully crafted. The most important of it all is to remember that it’s just a bad day, not a bad life.

  • It’s nice when you see such a great work! Continue writing

  • “Remember: sometimes a bad day will just be a bad day.”
    Life is not meant to be perfect, there will be many bad days.
    But I do believe when we accept it the way it is. It becomes a soothing experience, and sometimes that’s all you need.

  • Great Information Sir

  • Nada

    You just made my day thanks alotfor this

  • Anna

    Thank your for good advice acceptance that is the key why be negative just accept your feelings as it is and keep going!

  • Major

    Thank you Henrik for guiding us in such a beautiful way !
    Your daily newsletters are really helping me and are the reason for the % of change i have imbibed in me .
    Thanks a ton brother :)

  • Stephanie Humphries

    Many of these suggestions were new to me and I look forward to trying them. Thank you!

  • carol eason

    When facing a ‘bad’ situation, I remember advice I once read, which was ‘THINK OF THREE THINGS THAT ARE POSITIVE’, E.G. GOT A FLAT TIRE on the way to work? CALL THE TOW TRUCK, BUT REMEMBER NOW YOU HAVE TIME TO SLOW DOWN, MAYBE EVEN GRAB A COFFEE. Now you have time to give someone else a quick call and word of encouragement.,etc. So these are things that only came up because off the flat tire.

  • Graham Morrow

    A most meaningful message, especially due to what is currently happening globally.

  • Sneha Srivastava

    Write we can’t happy all the time because it’s not habbit it’s just feeling…..and we always feel happy it’s not possible…
    But now we have techniques to change bad day to good day..?. Thanks for it …

  • Nancy

    Such a great blog, I find this so helpful in my daily life.
    I am also working on # 8. Accept the feelings, I was brought up to bury feelings and emotions. And then they can ruin days, weeks, even years. Learning to enjoy each day !
    A great full reader.

  • Grace Addey

    Waaoow!this what I need, and I’ve got it at the right time. Am really grateful. Hoping to read more of this.