Some days just seem to start out rotten. You wake up with an aching heart and aren't sure why. Or your morning feels like a series of unfortunate events. You stub your toe, spill your coffee, and misplace your keys. Suddenly there's a storm cloud over your head and you're certain it's going to be one of THOSE days. I'd never tell you to ignore your feelings or not to give yourself space to grieve and heal when you really need to. But when external forces try to knock us down, we do have a choice over how we react. A bad mood never makes anything better, so if you're ready to turn a crummy day around, these steps will help you do it.
Feel it. Set a timer and give yourself 5 minutes to fully and completely immerse yourself in your feelings. Scream, cry, or roll around on the floor - whatever you need to do to express what's going on inside. But when the timer goes off, pick yourself up and brush yourself off.
Hit reset. If you can, get back into your pyjamas and crawl into bed. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and then leap out of bed with as much energy and enthusiasm as you can muster.If you can't get back into bed, just close your eyes and focus on centering yourself. Symbolically decide to start over.
Play the glad game. Force yourself to think of five things about that this day that are worth being grateful. Write them down or say that out loud to really let them sink in, and don't let yourself stop until you've finished your list. Whenever something nice happens throughout the day, take note of it. Think of ways to actively expand your list. Wear a sparkly hair clip. Order a decadent coffee. Read a chapter of your favourite book. Plan yourself a nice dinner. Instead of getting bogged down in the shortfalls, see what loveliness you can add into your day.
Reflect. Sit in silence for a few minutes or free write in your journal. Ponder what might be making you feel this way. Is there a worry you're not acknowledging? Does something feel out of integrity? If you find some answers ask yourself if there's something you can do to better the situation. If so, do it. If not, move on to the next step.
Drop it like it's hot. When you notice a negative thought entering your mind, simply notice it and then let it go. The simplest way I know to do this is to focus on your breath or to shift your mind to a positive thought. Recognize that we have power over what we think and that by not holding on so tightly, we don't need to get bogged down in them.
Shake it off. We hold our emotions in our body and movement can be a powerful way to work through them. Go into the bathroom or another private space and close the door. Rock your head quickly from side to side. Shake your arms and then your legs. Swing your torso in wide circles. Jump up and down. Increase the intensity of the movement until your whole body is moving and shaking. Keep this up for at least a minute as you shift the negative feelings you've been carrying inside you.
The decision to feel differently can create a powerful mindset shift. It's an acknowledgment that you're not a victim of your feelings and circumstances. You have the choice to turn this day around.
Photograph by Fred Goudon.