We all have “bad days” and “good days”. The good days are when we have our “A-Game” — mood is positive, mind is sharp, and things seem to flow easily. The bad days… well… not so much on any of those fronts.
If it seems like you’re having more bad than good days, there is something you can do about it. You don’t have to be at the mercy of the emotional elements and allow your mood early in the day dictate how the rest of your day goes.
Here are three simple things that can keep you on a positive track, even when things don’t start out so well:
1. Don’t feed the monster.
This is something I teach in my seminars a lot, especially the ones on stress or meditation. “Life is stressful enough, so why make more?”
Getting upset because you’re having a “bad day” only makes it worse. It feeds that monster that is already making things more difficult.
In fact, think of it this way — when you get upset that you’re upset, the monster wins.
Do you really want to allow stress to win that easily?
So, when you start off your day feeling like maybe you’re a little less sharp, a little more tired, or stress is already getting to you — instead of reacting with frustration, sadness, or irritation, take a few deep breaths, and let it go. Remind yourself this is just ONE day, and you’ll make it through no matter what.
Breathing really helps this. If you’ve attended any of my seminars or read my blog posts regularly, you know that I’m a huge proponent of deep, relaxed, slow breathing. It’s like a switch that calms and centers your nervous system. The more you practice it, the more effective it becomes.
Learn to react to your bad day by breathing deeply and staying calm. Let it be. The minute you start fighting, you’ve engaged the monster in a battle. And, it’s taking your energy away even more.
2. Stay calm and ride out the storm.
Any good sailor will tell you that when a big storm is approaching, and the seas are getting too rough, the best thing to do is pull in the sails and go below deck to ride out the storm.
What determines when you have a good vs. a bad day often seems quite random. You may have had a wonderful week, very productive and focused. Then, suddenly you go through a few rough days. You can’t quite figure out why.
There’s a reason, trust me. But, we can’t always know what it is. In fact, furiously searching for the why is another way we get caught in the trap and actually make the day worse.
Sometimes, we just have to pull in the sails, go under deck, and ride out the storm. You don’t know exactly why you ended up in the middle of a storm today, but nevertheless here you are. The water is rough, the winds are howling, and it’s not fun.
So, just take it easy, and go into a safe place. Stay quiet, and remember that — soon enough — the storm will subside and you’ll be sailing onward.
This may mean that you go home early instead of working that extra hour. Or, instead of being talkative at a meeting, you just sit quietly and let others do the talking. It may mean that you go to bed early to get a little more sleep tonight, or you call a friend to go out for a nice dinner and get away from the internal noise and chatter that is stressing you.
3. Always remember the big picture.
It’s easy for life to seem big, for things to seem like a much bigger deal than they really are. Anytime things become “overblown” they almost take on a life of their own.
Yet, we’re always the ones that make it this way. Yes, sometimes things ARE a big deal — like a death of a loved one or losing a job. But, the vast majority of the time, they aren’t as big as we’re making them out to be.
Even when a loved one passes or a job ends, we have the choice to “escalate” the stress or find ways to keep our perspective.
When I start to feel that things are getting bigger than they seem, I like to do something I call “the 20,000 foot view”.
I imagine myself up in the air, in an airplane, looking out the window. I’m looking down on where I am now, seeing it from a very high vantage point. Everything is so tiny. The cars driving around outside, the trees, the buildings all around — all very, very tiny.
And, of course, from this perspective I’m tiny, too. And, when things seem large, remembering how tiny I really am feels really, really good.
No matter your situation, there’s always a way to shift your perspective and facilitate a more balanced state.
A recent t-shirt we made says, “Healing Begins in the Heart…” In my practice of Chinese and Holistic Medicine, I have found this to be the most basic of all truths.