Tips to help you get through “bad days”

by Alexa Diego | September 2020

You may not be able to turn a bad day to a good one all the time, but you may be able to get through it a bit easier with a few mental tools. Below you will find some tips on how to see your “bad days” from a different perspective. 

Things to remember when having a rough day:

  1. One negative experience does not have to influence how the remainder of your day will be like. We can sometimes send our minds into a trap of negative thinking after a bad start to our days. For example, if the coffee we just finished making falls on the floor, we may get upset and start to believe our entire day ahead will be a wreck. Remind yourself that you are human and mistakes happen. 
  1. Be mindful of your self-talk. Language frames beliefs. For instance, telling ourselves we are having a “bad day” may inadvertently make us believe there is no room for any “good” outcome. Encourage yourself to say that it was only one negative thing, but your day was not entirely bad. Maybe use words like “rough” or “unpredictable”.
  1. The day will always end and so will your “bad day.” It is tempting to extrapolate a bad experience and start to believe that this one “bad day” will continue to happen recurrently. It is always good to remember that we have full control over our behaviors and emotions, meaning that if something doesn’t occur the way we want them to, we can choose to not let this experience bring us down. 
  1. Practice self-care. This can look like really anything that finds you joy and/or simply helps you to wind down from the day you had: a well-deserved nap, making/ordering your favorite meal, watching a movie, spending time with loved ones, or sitting around and doing nothing at all. 
  1. Ask yourself what this “bad day” is teaching you. In the heat of the moment, we don’t usually ask ourselves what a “bad day” may be teaching us, but there is always room for learning and growth. For example, if you started off on the wrong foot because you woke up late and then spilled your coffee, this could possibly be teaching to set an extra alarm and not hit snooze the following day. 
  1. It’s okay to feel your feelings. This one may be a given, but sometimes in the midst of a rough time, we want to just not feel bad anymore. It is important to know that it is okay to feel frustrated, mad, upset, or sad and even more okay to let those feelings out by crying, if you feel like it. 
  1. You aren’t alone. Knowing that bad occurrences and bad days have happened to everyone at least once or twice is important to remind yourself because you are only human. Not everything happens the way that we have planned for that day, however, we can at least use this fact to help soothe ourselves. 

Reflect on the following question: What are some ways you can start to train your mind to challenge negative occurrences and help prevent the belief that your whole day is “bad”?