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Last Updated on September 3, 2020

9 Things to Remember When You’re Having a Bad Day

9 Things to Remember When You’re Having a Bad Day

Even the hardest days contain lessons that will help you be a better person. If you’re having a bad day, it can feel like things will never get better. However, the fact is that tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to improve your life.

If you had a bad day, consider these things to help pick yourself up and keep moving toward a full life.

1. No One Promised Life Would Be Perfect

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” -Leo Tolstoy

Don’t condition your happiness on meeting every expectation you set for yourself. Setting goals is key to life. That’s the only way we move toward the kind of life we really want. However, if you’re having a bad day, goals can feel unattainable and challenges insurmountable.

Goals are not met overnight. It’s good to be ambitious, but you’ll never be perfect. If you expect otherwise, your life will be rife with disappointments. When you stumble on a goal you’re trying to achieve, learn the lesson it offers and move forward.

When you had a bad day, use the moments before you sleep to review your goals. You can write them down or even journal about each of them. This will help you refocus your mind for the next day.

2. Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight

“Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” -Molière

Don’t kid yourself into thinking success will come quickly. It isn’t easy to be patient, but anything worth doing requires time (often, lots of it!). If you get frustrated, remind yourself why your goal is important.

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Waiting for good things to come can feel frustrating, and this frustration can lead us into having a bad day. If you’re feeling impatient, take a deep breath. Use a few minutes for meditation or for a walk in nature. This will help slow your mind down and root you in the present, helping to remind you of where you are and where you’re going.

Here are some of the benefits of walking in nature.

3. There Is a Lesson in Every Struggle

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive…But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” -Haruki Murakami

If you had a bad day, try not to focus on how terrible your life is. It’s tempting to do so, but stressing out won’t make you feel any better. If you search for the lesson in your present struggle, you’ll be able to make positive changes that would prevent similar situations in the future.

In order to do this, try specifying exactly what is causing you to have a bad day. For example, you may find that your controlling boss said something that put you in a bad mood. You can then analyze this.

Are you happy at your job? Would you be happier elsewhere? Are you ready to move on to something new?

Use these questions to guide you to lessons.

4. Hard Times Help You Appreciate the Good

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” -Arnold Schwarzenegger

Don’t get sad if you’re having a bad day because you’ve failed at something. It’s hard to find much to smile about when you fail, but how else would you improve yourself? If you look at failure as a part of your evolutionary process, you’ll stay positive and pursue your goals for as long as it takes.

Imagine having a life that is completely smooth, free of challenges, and without the joys or excitement of overcoming difficulties. Do you really think it would be all that interesting?

5. It’s Okay to Cry

“Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

Don’t be afraid of crying. It isn’t a sign of weakness, but rather an acceptable way to let go of your negative feelings. If you let those feelings build up without release, you’ll have a much harder time dealing with them later.

You can check out the reasons we cry in the video below:

This is often more difficult for men to accept because of the burden society has placed on them to be stoic. However, allowing your emotions to flow in order to avoid them taking control of you is one of the bravest things one can do.

6. Worry Makes You Suffer Twice

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.” -Corrie ten Boom

Don’t worry about everything, as it’ll only make you feel worse. It is human nature to obsess with all the things that could go wrong, but this will result in a self-inflicted mental nightmare.

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J.K. Rowling once wrote that “worrying means you suffer twice.” You suffer when you worry about the thing that’s coming. You suffer once again when the thing actually happens. Worrying will change nothing and will only seep joy from the present moment in which nothing bad is actually happening.

If you forget about the things you can’t control, you’ll be empowered to to concentrate on the things you can. This can be difficult if you’re having a bad day, but try to identify which things to let go and which things you can really change in this moment.

7. No One’s Life Is as Picturesque as It Looks

“How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.” -Marcus Aurelius

When we scroll through our social media, it’s easy to fall into having a bad day when we see how great everyone’s lives look. Don’t fall into this trap.

If you feel like your life pales in comparison, realize that you are comparing yourself to a highlight reel of their lives. People will only show you what they want you to see, those seemingly perfect moments that, when combined, make it look like their whole life is perfect.

Social comparison on social media also hits your self-esteem. One study “showed that participants who used Facebook most often had poorer trait self-esteem, and this was mediated by greater exposure to upward social comparisons on social media”[1].

Basically, the more time you spend on social media, the more likely it is that your self-esteem will go down, which can lead to more and more bad days.

8. It Takes Courage to Ask for Help

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you had a bad day. It’s tough to put yourself in a vulnerable position, but opening up to a friend will help you deal with your troubles. Just make sure you’re turning to the right people. Find someone who you know will be sympathetic or someone who has been through something similar.

If you feel like a burden, remember that no one would have achieved much if they didn’t ask for support when they needed it.

9. There’s Always Something to Be Grateful for

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

Think of something you are thankful for right now. It could be the cup of coffee you had this morning, the sweet puppy you’ll be going home to tonight, or the healthy set of eyes that allowed you to read this article.

It’s so easy to lose sight of these little things when we’re upset. I challenge you to break that trend.

The next time you get upset, think about something that makes you happy. Repeat this behavior until it becomes second nature. Your negative thoughts will have no power over you if you learn to stop lingering on them.

A great way to do this is to start a gratitude journal. You can start by writing three things each day that you’re grateful for and grow from there. There are also many great gratitude applications if you prefer to stick to technology.

If you want to know more about how to start a gratitude journal and its benefits, check out this article.

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Final Thoughts

Bad days are temporary. When you find yourself in one, try to identify what’s caused you to have a bad day so that you can work to overcome it tomorrow and get back to feeling good. Feel what you need to feel and then allow yourself to move on to better days.

More on What to Do When You’re Having a Bad Day

Featured photo credit: Pablo Varela via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social Comparison, Social Media, and Self-Esteem

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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