No matter how positive of a person you are, there will be days that you wish you could undo. Whether you mess up on a project at work, end up in a disagreement with someone, or find out your air conditioner went out and will cost a small fortune to fix, some days just feel like bad days. When it happens, it can be easy to wallow in self-pity or get stuck venting and complaining to anyone who’ll listen. But none of that will turn things around. There are, however, a few behaviors that can help you bounce back every time.
1. Take charge of your thoughts.
It is our thoughts that lead to our feelings, not the other way around. So if you are intentional about noticing what you’re saying to yourself about your circumstances, you can consciously decide whether the thoughts you have are ones you want to keep or ones that need to be replaced. “Things will never change” isn’t the kind of thought that’ll help you bounce back. “What can I do to make sure tomorrow is less stressful?” is an empowering thought – a question that gets you thinking about what is within your control to change.
2. Talk to your funny friend.
Negative emotion is more powerful than positive emotion. In fact, psychologists have discovered that it takes about three positives to undo the effects of negative encounters in our lives. So it’s no wonder it can feel hard to just “snap out of” a bad mood. You have to make intentional choices and activate happiness triggers such as play, anticipation and gratitude to take you to your happy place. This is not the time to hang out with negative people. Call your friend who always makes you laugh. Happiness is contagious.
3. Take a nap.
Sleep is like pressing the reset button. Bad days can zap your energy big time. So listen to your body and give yourself some much-needed rest. Medical experts advise that the ideal amount of time for a nap is either 25 minutes or 90 minutes. So curl up in a cozy spot with your favorite blanket, set your alarm and take a nap.
4. Go for a brisk walk.
Did you know that just 20 minutes of cardio will boost your mood for up to 24 hours? Get out of your regular environment and get your blood pumping. Whether a walk outdoors or a quick jog on the treadmill, don’t wait to “feel” like moving to get moving. Just do it. You’ll notice a change in how your feel almost immediately.
5. Remember the vision.
The danger of a bad day is that when bombarded with negative events, it can be tempting to “ruminate” on them. Ruminating is when we mull over the same negative thoughts over and over again. Interrupt your ruminating by asking a simple question, “So…where will you go from here?” Look up from your obstacle long enough to see the vision of what’s next. Today is just one day. Shake it off. Imagine how you want to feel instead. Then take a step that will lead you closer to that feeling. Joy is a choice, and on some days it’s a harder choice than others. But the choice is still yours.
My challenge to you:
Be intentional about bouncing back from bad days. Don’t let the negative emotion drag on any longer than necessary.
What is your vision of how you want to feel and act in the face of a bad day? What will you have to change in order to get there? Which of the five bounce-back behaviors will you practice today?