You know those days that are just wrong from the very start? The moment you wake up something goes the wrong way and it seems that it just sets the tone of the day. It just keeps getting worse and worse, one bad situation after another. You feel desperate and don’t know what to do.
At that point, the only acceptable thing for you is to go home, curl up in your bed and cry. We all know that feeling because it happened to us at least once. Here are some tips on how to survive days like that.
It sounds so trivial, doesn’t it? However, it is crucial. When you are stressed, your body reacts physically to it. Your muscles get tense, your breathing gets shallower, and it’s very likely you feel tired. The whole process is really damaging to your health, more than you think. This is why you need to stop and take a moment to breathe.
There are really good breathing exercises explained online. You can try the 4-7-8 technique which is proven to be one of the most effective breathing exercises. Find a moment for yourself and do the exercises. Don’t let any distractions come your way. You will feel much better, focused and relaxed.
2. Accept the situation
When things go wrong, we spend too much time dwelling on how things could have been different. We think about what we should have done and how would it change everything. That just creates a vicious circle which will make us feel worse and worse. You will just be more anxious.
Instead of thinking about what could have been different, just accept the situation as it is. You can’t change anything by thinking about it over and over again. You can tell your friend or a coworker about the things that happened. Talking to someone always helps. Hearing yourself say those word out loud will make the situation more real, hence easier to accept. Once you accept the situation as it is, you can think about further steps. Once you figure that out, concentrate on that. It is much healthier to focus your energy on something that you still can influence.
3. Try positive self-talk
When you’re having a bad day, your thoughts are mostly negative. You are probably thinking:
I am so incapable.
Why am I so lazy?
This is just my luck.
etc. That will not help. Sometimes we are our biggest critics. Try a more positive attitude. Instead of thinking things like that, be more realistic.
Everyone has bad days. This too shall pass.
I will bounce back from this.
This day isn’t going too great, but I will focus on what can I do to improve.
4. Start a journal
You know what helps when you are full of negative emotions? Venting. And you know what’s the best thing for venting? A journal. When days like that come, your thoughts are often all over the place. You can’t concentrate properly on anything because your mind is roaming. When you take a pen and start writing everything in your journal, it will feel like letting go.
Often, when you write things down you have a better insight in their magnitude. Sometimes the things that happen seem worse in your head. Once you see them laying on a sheet of paper, they don’t seem so big anymore. And that will definitely make you feel better.
5. Name your emotions
According to a UCLA study, putting a label on those emotions shifts your thought processing away from the amygdala to the area right behind your forehead and eyes (the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, if you want to get technical). That area of the brain puts your emotional responses into words. Matthew D. Lieberman, UCLA associate professor of psychology said:
When you put feelings into words, you’re activating this prefrontal region and seeing a reduced response in the amygdala. In the same way you hit the brake when you’re driving when you see a yellow light, when you put feelings into words, you seem to be hitting the brakes on your emotional responses.
This means that next time something bad happens, it’s best to say:
I am really angry about this. I feel ashamed that this happened.
Remeber, if you are having a bad day, that too will pass. It happens to everyone, that’s what makes us human.