5 Ways to Improve a Bad Day

We all have bad days here and there.  Sometimes they come from numerous small stressors that pile up, sometimes they are the result of receiving really bad news.  While there is no magic bullet to fix a tough day, there are a number of ways that you can practice self care to make life more manageable and reduce your stress.

Call a friend

Connecting with others is a proven way to find a place for love and happiness, it is something people shy from when they are at their worst but it is what they need the most at that time. Just press the call button and see what happens, even if it’s for a few minutes. More likely than not, you’ll learn something new and it will distract you from what’s affecting you, and your friends can often empathize with what you are going through.  When you hang up the phone you’ll feel a little more upbeat as you gave time for yourself to connect with someone you care about.

Treat yourself

What have you been craving?  A favorite movie, a manicure, a new set of gym clothes, a massage, your favorite snack? This is the time to love yourself and treat yourself the best, not beat yourself up for feeling down. Doing something healthy for you is a great way to improve a bad day. You deserve to feel happy, healthy, lovable and grateful. Reaffirm this to yourself in the mirror several times.

Deep breathing

Breathing has been known for years to calm the mind and spirit, bringing you the clarity you need to find a solution to your situation, figure out why it happened, and properly resolve it with a positive attitude. A technique known as Pranayama breathing is excellent for dealing with an emotional situation at hand. Studies have shown that the breath is linked with the emotions: basically if you are breathing shallow and fast your mind will feel the same; flighty, not grounded and stressed. But image the effects when you breath in slowly and deeply, letting go of the worries as you exhale. Here’s a sample breathing, or Prana, exercise: breathe in for 4 counts and out for 8 counts. Do this repeatedly and you’ll feel the calm wash over you, allowing you to float into a positive perspective and lift yourself out of whatever is affecting you.

Catch your negative thoughts, and change them

Take a minute to just quietly listen to your thoughts. What are you saying to yourself?  Then gently ask yourself, is this a thought that is going to lead me to a better place, or is this digging me further into my negative thoughts and feelings. If you are caught in negative self talk, ask if you would say the things you are saying to yourself to a loved one.  We are often our own worst critics, and some of the things we say to ourselves we would never say to someone we care about.  You have the power to change your thoughts and therefore the quality of your day.

Here are some prompts to ask yourself as you observe your thought patterns (without judgement!):

  1. Write down the thoughts going through your mind- list everything.
  2. What is the worst case scenario (what is your biggest fear)? Is this really that bad?
  3. Do you want to continue thinking and feeling this way?
  4. What would make you feel better about the situation? What’s your desired way to deal with it and desired way to feel during this situation?
  5. What could you do right NOW to embody what you just described as your desired state?
  6. What else could you do right now/today to help your situation?

Notice how different you feel between the current state and the desired state. If you still are not there, that is okay, it takes time. But even finding one positive in your situation makes a huge difference, just try it!

Get moving

Research has shown that any sort of exercise, be it a walk in the park, running, yoga, tennis, swimming, weight lifting — is one of the easiest solutions to slowing down the bad mood train. If you do not feel like you have the time, that is when you need it the most. This can be guilt free because all the endorphins you release (feel good hormones), the emotions you let go of, and oxygen you supply to your brain will help you to think clearly and solve problems more effectively.  The time is a quality investment.  Ideally, get outside so you can enjoy the added benefits of fresh air and Vitamin D, both of which will help calm you down.

Do you have other effective methods of turning around a bad day? Comment below!

If you want to learn more about nutrition and healthy living, contact the SCNM Medical Center.