The Secret To Getting Through A Rough Day
> Everyone has bad days at work - it’s unavoidable
Ever have one of these kinda mornings?
You’re rushing out the door and when you’re almost to your car, you realize that you forgot something. So, you hustle back inside and grab that one thing and then beeline it back to the car.
Then, it happens again just as your unlocking the car door - another thing that you need to take to work but left inside.
So, you jump back inside the house for a second time and hunt for that one other important thing. Precious commuting minutes are ticking away.
You finally find it and run out of the house and jump in the car.
This little charade only took an additional five or ten minutes, but those extra minutes...man, it can mean the difference between a barely tolerable commute and a brutal one.
Who knew that just that little bit makes such a huge difference in the commute?
Frazzled from the drive, you get to your desk and as you’re settling in, you reach for your phone...but it’s not there.
You left it at home - that’s strike three for the morning. And, it’s not even 9am yet.
You scan your inbox for new messages and all you see is nothing but a bunch of problems and issues to deal with.
This is gonna be one of those days.
Why Tough Days Happen To All Of Us
It doesn’t matter who you are and what you do. We all experience those kinds of days where it seems like nothing is working in our favor, in fact, it seems like the world is out to get us.
Sometimes, it’s out of our control and shit just happens. It’s the parking ticket, tripping over yourself, spilling the coffee, etc. It’s like there’s some invisible force that’s just messing with us just for kicks.
Other times, we’re clearly at fault. We’re careless, rush ourselves and don’t plan or prepare correctly ahead of time. And when we don’t do what we need or should do, we open ourselves up to more fiascos.
And then there’s the more superstitious or pseudoscience kind of thing like the “Law Of Attraction”.
It’s where your thoughts and actions drive and determine your experiences. So, if you think and act positively, positive things will happen. And conversely, if you tend to dwell on negative thoughts, you’ll be hit with negative things.
In other words, like attracts like.
There’s no single thing that is the cause of bad days. It’s a combination of things that are within and out of our control.
Bad days are unavoidable in life. But, you can minimize them through these totally unscientific strategies.
How To Turn Around A Bad Day
We’re not big superstitious people here, but we do believe in karma - what goes around comes around. Our thoughts and actions have an impact on others and the universe at large.
The vibe you send out to the world is what will come back to you - good or bad. We can use this principle to our advantage to help us neutralize negative trends and turn things around.
And, that’s the secret, plain and simple.
Is there concrete research to back this up?
Nope, nada, zilch.
But, every single one of us has been on the receiving end of karma’s payback - both good and bad.
So, the strategy here is all about correctly managing all the negative energy that your mind is focusing on and what you’re actively transmitting out to the world.
It’s like a battery.
There’s a negative end and a positive end.
When you’re having a shitty day, that’s all your mind is thinking about. Everything you see, hear and do has nothing but problems and issues. Your mind can only “see” the negativity of things and nothing else.
And as a result, most of your thoughts and actions are coming out of the negative end of the battery.
And all of that negative output eventually makes it way back to you in some way, shape or form. At best, it creates a constant negativity cycle. At worst, it turns into a downward spiral that just gets worse with each level.
By switching the flow out the positive end, meaning thinking, speaking and hearing good things, you can reverse the negative flow.
But, it’s not just flipping a switch. You can’t just ignore the bad stuff and pretend that it never happened - that’s not gonna work.
Here’s what you need to do:
STEP #1: Accept & Acknowledge The Negative Thing
The first step in turning things around is to accept and acknowledge whatever negative thing has come your way. Sweeping mishaps, incidents, accidents, arguments etc. under the rug isn’t going to make it go away.
It’s important to look back on it and understand why it happened to begin with. By giving it attention, you allow your mind to work through it and process it.
It’s like when you’re opening a new browser tab on a website that has lots of heavy graphics. Your computer is processing all the info and it takes a few seconds for everything to load and display. Once you’ve scanned or read everything on the page, you can close the tab and move on.
It’s the same with your mind. You have to let it process things so that you can close that issue out and wipe it from your thoughts.
But, it’s not going to be easy - trust us. The same negative thoughts will often pop back into your head several times even after acknowledging it. Guaranteed.
This is when you’ve got to step in and tell your mind, “Okay, we’ve been through this already. Here’s the reason again - blah, blah, blah. Now, let’s move on.”
And like a 5-year old child, it eventually gets the message.
STEP #2: Neutralize The Asshole In Your Head
Now, even after being successful in clearing whatever bad thing happened to you from your mind, it still has another secret weapon to use against you.
It’s the inner critic or asshole in your head.
We all have one.
When things are going wrong, our inner critic is the first one to show up. Happiness, confidence, resilience, diligence, fortitude, etc. are all nowhere to be found. They’re all hiding in the deep recesses of our brains.
However, the asshole shows up on time, every time. Nobody else in the world is as reliable as this guy.
So, after we’re successful in clearing out the negativity we just experienced, the asshole will step right in and start pointing out new things to bitch about.
This is when the inner critic in our heads has the best leverage against us. It’s using all the bad vibes to its advantage to work against us.
It’ll stir up shit about things that haven’t even happened yet or may not even happen just to piss you off. And if that isn’t enough, it’ll reach deep into your memory to bring up all sorts of the BS from the past - even all the way back from childhood times.
This is when you need to neutralize the asshole in your head.
And the best way to do that is to simply ask your inner critic one simple question that’s only...three...words...long.
“Is this useful?”
It’s such a simple but powerful question that can stop your inner critic right in its tracks. It’s three words that can quickly defeat even the toughest contender.
In nearly all cases and situations, the answer is going to be “no” and you’ll be able to eliminate that thought. This is because thinking about the same problem, mishap, misfortune, etc. won’t be helpful and your inner critic knows that.
It’s the inner critic’s Achilles heel.
It’s the ace card in your hand.
Asking “Is this useful?” puts you in charge over your inner critic. It takes power away from the asshole and into your hands.
When the negative thought is wiped away, you’ve essentially neutralized your inner critic’s negative energy and disrupted its flow. And it’s at this very moment, that you’ve got to take action to move things into a more positive direction.
STEP #3: Create & Send Out Positive Energy
When you’ve neutralized your inner critic, it’s like knocking an opponent off balance. Now, you’ve got this window of opportunity to swing the momentum on your side.
This is when you’ve gotta start throwing punches and take the offensive.
Knocking our inner critic off balance gets us to a neutral state of mind. This is a very good step. Just achieving this improved state of being can result in a workday that’s much more bearable.
But let’s move beyond “meh” and over to the other side - the positive and happier side.
We do this by using the same karma principle, only now we work it so that it creates positive energy that can work in our favor.
Here are some of our tried-n-true tactics that we’ve used to bring on more of the good mojo to turn our sour day into a sweet one.
Try each of them and use one or any combination that vibes with you the best.
A) Give Genuine Compliments
Think back to when someone gave you a real compliment, not a superficial online “like” on social media. It could’ve been the checkout person at the store, the coffee barista or maybe even one of your coworkers.
Think about it right now by recalling that moment - relive it for a few seconds.
Remember how it made you feel?
It felt good, right?
Just reliving the moment in your head right now provided a burst of dopamine.
You don’t need any scientific studies to know that receiving compliments makes you feel good. It’s obvious. Compliments lift our spirits and moods.
But, did you know that giving compliments can be just as rewarding?
When you take the time and go out of your way to say something nice to another person, it actually boosts good feelings in you too. Plus, it turns up your self-confidence and self-esteem.
You can brighten someone’s day with a small, simple and genuine compliment. The last part is key - genuine. If it’s not from the heart and truthful, it doesn’t work.
You don’t have to be deeply emotional about it, but just honest. It’s like saying “Those are really cool glasses you’re wearing. They make your eyes stand out.” versus a more generic, “You like nice today.”
The act of giving compliments creates a virtuous circle of goodness. This is the karma thing working its magic.
Telling a random person that what they’re doing is really making your day awesome will bring a huge smile to them and to you. Or, when you tell your coworker that you admired the way they handled that internal issue, it’s going to boost the good vibes for the both of you.
So, today...before you go to bed, give one small genuine compliment to someone. You’ll be glad you did.
B) Say Thank You More Meaningfully & More Often
Most of us say thanks throughout the day as we’re moving about here and there and working. It’s when someone holds the door for us, responds to our small request, hands us the napkin from across the table, etc.
It’s common courtesy and these small thanks are pretty much a given and perfectly appropriate for those types of situations.
But sometimes, we use that same level of small thanks for bigger things when really, they deserve a bit more oomph, if you know what we mean.
Writing just a one word email reply of “thanks” to a fellow coworker who worked their ass off on a task for your project is L-A-M-E, lazy and borderline ungrateful.
For these kinds of moments, where you know that someone has done some significant work for you and put in substantial effort, make your “thank you” more meaningful.
Explain how their contribution is really helping you and how it’s making a positive impact on your project. It doesn’t have to be some long drawn out email, but just a short sentence or two.
Even better, stop by their desk and say it in person. It’s more impactful and plus, you’ll get a little boost of feel-goodness too.
Also, if you experience some extraordinary level of service from someone, whether at a restaurant, store or wherever, why not take an extra five minutes before you leave and ask to talk with the manager.
It’s guaranteed that nearly 100% of the time, when you ask for the manager, they always assume that it’s about a problem or issue - because most of the time that’s the case.
Instead, surprise them and catch them off-guard with a genuine and meaningful “thank you” for the great service you received from their staff. You’ll be doubling up on the goodness!
C) Actively Seek Out Something To Be Grateful For
When you’re pissed off and in a shitty mood, it’s really hard to see the good in anything. Your mind only picks out and focuses on the negatives.
However, you can break this cycle by actively looking for positives.
These can be small and simple things that come across your path during the day.
It can be how your fav pair of shoes look and feel, the sounds of morning birds chirping, the taste of your morning coffee...the fact that you’re alive and reading this article.
There are millions of things to be grateful for. And you don’t need anyone or anything but yourself to practice an “attitude of gratitude” at work or anywhere else for that matter.
It’s an ideal way to trigger happiness wherever you are.
Like right now, at this very moment, think about just one thing that you can be grateful for.
It could be something that you experienced this morning. It could be something from your past. Or, maybe even something coming up soon in the future.
Go ahead and think it through, jot it down in your notebook or sticky note and then, come back to us.
Feel a bit better, right?
Here’s one from us...long warm showers.
It does so much for us. After a long grueling day, a warm slow shower is the perfect way to wash away stress and decompress. We’re grateful for whoever invented plumbing and water heaters, for without them, we’d be taking cold showers outside.
Yes, it’s such a basic thing, but imagine life without it. We’re grateful to have modern showers in our lives.
D) Laugh In The Face Of Adversity
When your day starts off on the wrong foot and things go downhill fast, it can seem like the world is out to get you.
One of the best ways to counter this is to simply laugh it off.
It’s like laughing uncontrollably at a bully - he doesn’t know what to do. He’s dumbfounded.
You can do the same when things are going against you.
Laughter is one of the most powerful stress relievers out there. When we laugh, our brains release all sorts of feel-good endorphin hormones into our bodies. It also suppresses cortisol, the stress hormone.
There’s always some viral humor clip being passed around social media. But, we all have a favorite that always gets us chuckling, no matter what mood we’re in.
It’s time that you find this special clip and save it to your favorites. And, when things are starting to go south, whip out your phone and get some giggles going.
Can’t find one or don’t have one handy?
Bloopers and outtakes always bring laughs and smiles. 😉
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Laughing is one of the ultimate stress relievers. You can’t be pissed off and laughing at the same time. The two emotions can’t happen at the same time.
So, when life is making your day miserable, turn the tables and laugh it off.
E) Relive Happy Moments
We all have those special moments in our lives when everything was just so perfect. If there was a way to travel back in time to relive those moments, that would be incredible.
But unfortunately, Marty McFly’s time-traveling DeLorean isn’t available for the masses yet. Until then, there’s always our photos and videos.
Most of us just keep our photos and videos in one main folder on our phone and then, when we need to find that one photo or video, we do the one-finger swipe a million times to hunt for that one thing.
When you’re struggling to get through the day, every free minute you have to boost yourself with some good mojo can make a huge difference.
So, it’s important to set up a dedicated folder on your phone for happy and amazing moments in your life. It’ll make for much quicker access than the endless scroll hunting.
And, be selective about which photos to import into that folder. It’s gotta be the kind of moments where it 100% makes you smile or laugh. Every. Single. Time.
Pick one right now and relive the moment in your head then put it in a new folder on your phone for fast access. Do this before moving onto the next section.
From Now On, Make Every Bad Day A Good Day
There’s no avoiding bad days in life. It’s gonna happen. The key thing here is how you decide to handle it.
You can let it ruin your day or you can take control and turn things around for the better.
A lot of it hinges on your ability to neutralize all the negative energy and start thinking and taking more positive actions to move the needle to the happier side of the mood meter.
It’s all about shifting the momentum toward positivity and eventually building such a strong mental resilience to tough days that it would take a disaster of epic proportions to knock you off kilter.
Get this skill honed and you can be like this little guy.
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Moving from a pissed off attitude to “meh” neutrality to smiles and laughter is going to take effort and won’t be easy. But with every small positive thing you see, hear and do, you’ll start making strides toward making your day a better one.
Follow the steps and do any combination of good mood boosters and you’ll quickly offset the bad stuff and begin the upward spiral of positivity.
So, start today by just doing one small positive thing and then, keep practicing at it. It’s a behavioral skill that needs to be developed.
If you can keep up the positive momentum beyond just one day and string together several days, you’ll build up a big positive reserve tank of goodness where even the shittiest day can’t keep you down for long.
C’mon, you can do this.
You know it and we know it.