Let’s face it… we all have bad days, right? Sometimes we even have a week of bad days when things are just not working the way we think they should. The trick to getting through all those bad days is staying positive as often as you can. After all, you might not be able to change what’s happening, but you can change how you react to it. And that’s what this post is all about.
Keep in mind that we’re not talking about “toxic positivity” where you force yourself to stay positive 100% of the time. Not only is that not realistic, it’s not good for your mental health either. Your mind needs time to breathe, to acknowledge that things aren’t working out quite the way you envisioned, and then and only then are you ready to figure out how to get the positive energy flowing again.
Here are 5 tips for staying positive when you’re having a bad day:
Tip #1 – Remember to breathe
Bad days definitely can wreak havoc on our mental state, and when that’s the case you can feel it in your breathing. I’m sure you’ve noticed that when you’re upset or stressed, your breathing gets short and shallow. Sometimes we even forget to breathe!
When you are dealing with a day where it feels like everything is against you, one of the best things you can do is just stop and take a deep breath.
This gives you time to pause and collect yourself, allow your thoughts a moment to catch up to the moment, and decide what to do next. It is not about correcting them or forcing them.
It is more about being kind to yourself and letting your mind rest for a moment.
Tip #2 – Be mindful about why you think it’s a bad day
No one intentionally sets out to have a bad day, so when it does happen, it’s good to be mindful about why it’s happening and acknowledge what is going on. Understanding why you think your day is bad is a good first step in staying positive while working through it.
Sometimes our bad day is just a mindset thing. If you have the time and space to journal about it, you can ask yourself questions like:
- What happened to make this a bad day?
- Is my reaction realistic or am I making too much of a little thing?
- Is it really ruining my day, or am I just assuming that it will?
- Am I just feeling anxious about something and letting it take over?
It helps to write this down because if you just mull it over in your head you can end up with your thoughts going around in circles. Writing brings an element of objectivity to it and helps you get clear on why you’re feeling the way you do.
Tip #3 – Find something to be grateful for
It’s hard to find something to be grateful for when everything seems to be going wrong. But, if you can dig deep and come up with one little thing to be grateful for it can go a long way toward staying positive when you’re having a bad day.
It also helps you build up your “positive energy” muscles, so that when something that would have thrown you off happens in the future, you can shrug it off as no big deal.
I can tell you from experience that this works! I used to be one of those people who flew off the deep end at every little thing. My days were never good, there was nothing to look forward to or be grateful for. And then I started using a gratitude journal and believe me, there were days I had to really mine for that one little thing.
Now I can always find something to be grateful for, and I rarely get stressed about much unless it’s really life-changing stuff. (But that, as they say, is a story for another day.)
Tip #4 – Get in the habit of using positive affirmations
Personally, I love affirmations!
I write them.
I say them.
I sing them – much to the annoyance of my son!
Using positive affirmations is a great habit to get into when you’re trying to stay positive. Find a statement or two that you feel drawn to, and that really speaks to you in the moment and either write them down or speak them aloud. Or sing them, if you dare!
It really can help to shift the energy in the moment.
Tip #5 – Accept there are things you can’t control
Finally, one thing you can do to enable yourself to stay positive when you’re having a bad day is to accept and acknowledge that there are just some things you can’t control.
Your bad day might be a complete result of the actions of others, and you can no more influence that than you can stop the sun from rising in the morning.
Sometimes a bad day is just a bad day, and all you can do is notice how you react to it. Take a deep breath, find something to be grateful for and know that this too shall pass. Cry and scream if you need to, but then let it go and move on. Use these tips to practice staying positive and notice that it does get easier over time.