I feel like I’ve been having more bad days than usual lately. They haven’t been terrible days. They have just been the kinds of days where you wake up late, continuously trip on invisible objects, miss the bus, and inevitable drop something all over the floor and make a huge mess.
If you are having a bad day, I feel like there are two ways that you can handle it:
- Decide that today is not your day and wait until tomorrow comes for things to go your way, or
- Change your perspective. Take the opportunity to get to know a different part of town if you take a wrong turn somewhere. Instead of getting mad at your roommate for drinking all the milk, be grateful that you have someone to share rent with who is actually pretty cool most of the time.
If number 1 jives with you – and let’s be honest, we’ve all been there – maybe go to bed early so that you feel refreshed when tomorrow finally arrives. If you want to make today a little better, maybe treat yourself to one of your favorite things or try some techniques for improving a bad day.
Maybe you don’t want to wait until tomorrow to feel happier so you give the second one a go. I also usually take this opportunity to blast Shake it Off and Let it Go. Even if you can’t control what is happening in your life at the moment, you can always control how you think about it, and that is sure to make you feel better!
Oh wait, there is also a third way to deal with having a bad day:
- Have a bad day, change your perspective and look at the positives of the situation, still feel upset/mad/frustrated, and then get frustrated with yourself for not being able to feel better.
This third option creates a wonderful downward spiral of feeling bad, trying to make yourself feel better without success, feeling worse, repeat.
For example, I bought a beautiful pot roast from the local butcher and was super excited to try out a delicious new recipe with it. I even went out and bought a Dutch oven to make this thing happen. As I’m letting the pot roast cook away in the oven, I joked to Husband about how I hoped that there would be liquid left in the Dutch oven when I took it out of the oven (Fun fact: Ovens in Grenada don’t have temperature gauges. My choices are 1 – 5!)
A minute later I smelled something burning. My guesstimate of the oven temperature had been way off and I had in fact cooked all of the liquid out of the Dutch oven and my greatly-anticipated pot roast. I was crushed, and Husband rushed to the store to get a few items to salvage dinner and my spirits. I tried to think of the positives of the situation: the pot roast was edible, I’m lucky to have a husband who was willing to drop what he was doing to make me feel better, and I had just learned how not to cook a pot roast. None of it helped though, and I felt ridiculous that one over-cooked piece of meat could make me feel so lousy. In my defense, I LOVE food. But still. Cue downward spiral.
The best way that I have found to break out of the downward spiral is to consciously acknowledge what you are feeling at the moment, and sit with it. Don’t try to change it. A friend recently told me that she would think to herself how she was feeling, and follow it up with, “and that’s ok.” For instance, you might think to yourself, “I’m angry right now, and that’s ok.” I have found this to be so helpful in breaking the cycle of trying to change how you feel and ultimately making yourself feel worse.
Don’t get me wrong, sitting with negative emotions is not the most pleasant experience. I feel like it is natural to try to do something to get frustration and anger and sadness to go away so that we can replace them with better emotions, but when trying to fix it makes you even more unhappy, someone has to step in and change the pattern. And that someone is probably you. It is ok to feel frustrated, mad, sad, or upset when things don’t go your way. It is natural to feel those things, and the only person saying that you can’t or shouldn’t feel those things is you. So give yourself a break, take a moment to feel how you’re feeling, then go about your day. Chances are, letting go of any thoughts about what emotions you should be feeling at any given moment will have you feeling better, or – at the very least – not feeling worse.
Then you can get back to jamming out to Taylor Swift.