10 Ways to Turn Around a Bad Day in 10 Minutes Or Less

“Peace begins with a smile.” ~Mother Theresa

Minor things can trigger bad days, whether it’s a having a tiff with your roommate, getting stuck in traffic, or just waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

As a fitness instructor, I’ve found that one negative comment from a member in a class can completely derail an otherwise happy day.

Someone in one of my fitness classes once griped about my music selection after what I thought was an amazing class. It almost drained my entire high, but after hearing from the other 99.9% of the class that was sweaty and happy—people who’d enjoyed my class—I brushed the comment aside.

This has happened to me quite often, and I have to remember not to let one measly comment tarnish an otherwise great day.

This is the good news: You can turn around a bad day just as quickly as it started.

The first thing you need to do is get some positive juices flowing. Once you’ve started to feel good inside, it’s much easier to change your perspective on the day and let the pity parade pass you by.

If a bad day’s got you down, try one of these 10 ways to turn it around in 10 minutes or less:

1. Listen to a favorite song and sing along.

Studies have shown that listening to music you like can alter your mood and even alleviate depression.

In your iPod, make a “Feel Better” playlist that includes songs that work for you. Try to choose positive, uplifting songs that you can sing along to. “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz works for me every time.

2. Take a shower.

I’m not sure what it is about taking a shower, but I feel that it metaphorically helps “clean” the negativity. Taking a quick shower, especially one that alternates cold and hot water, can help increase circulation and rid negative energy.

Start with a warm shower and then slowly turn the temperature of the water as cold as you can stand for 20 seconds. Then bring the temperature back up again. Alternate this cycle for 3−5 minutes to start until you can slowly start to tolerate longer durations.

3. Watch a funny YouTube video.

In a study performed at the University of Western Ontario, participants who listened to an upbeat piece of music and watched a funny YouTube video were more productive and better able to solve problems than groups who listened to depressing music and video clips.

In theory, watching funny YouTube video can actually boost productivity. (Try telling that to your boss.)

Watch this video and tell me your day didn’t just get 10 times better.

4. Pet an animal.

Petting an animal can dramatically improve your mood. It can have such positive effects that behavioral therapists use animals to help with healing—with equine therapy, for example. Even though owning a pet has been shown to improve self-esteem and well-being, you don’t have to have one to reap the benefits.

You may not be at a farm, but chances are, someone in your neighborhood or building owns a pet. Also, animal shelters are always looking for volunteers. Animals need us as much as we need them!

5. Give and get a hug.

We often overlook human touch as a form of therapy. Health providers actually use therapeutic touch as a form of energy healing in hospitals and hospices to help patients recover from surgery.

The next time you’re feeling a little wonky, reach out to your partner, a close friend, or a family member and share a quick embrace.

6. Practice deep breathing.

Deep breathing has a naturally therapeutic, stress-reducing quality that can help you quell the rush of stress hormones that a bad day can bring about.

Take a few moments to close your eyes. Practice inhaling deeply through your nose for a two-second count, pausing for two seconds, and then exhaling for another two seconds. This will help stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, thus quieting down your stress response.

7. Write about what’s bothering you and then write something you are grateful for.

Journaling is a great way to release stress and anxiety since it helps you get things off your chest in a safe way. Even if no one is going to read it, the fact that you wrote it down will make dealing with the stress a little easier.

Write in a journal exactly what’s bothering you and how you’re feeling about it. Then write a few things that you are grateful for. This will help bring you into a positive frame of mind, which will help get you out of your slump.

8. Do some light bodyweight exercises.

Even though you may not feel like it, getting up and moving your body will help stimulate blood flow and the release of endorphins, the well-known “feel good” hormone.

Luckily for you, you don’t have to tie your laces and head out for a three-mile run to get the benefits of exercise; even a five-minute routine that you can do right next to your desk can do the trick.

Perform a simple routine of light squats, push-ups, and easy stretches. This not only gets you out of the chair, it also stimulates happy hormone production, increases blood flow, and boosts your mood.

9. Sign out of Facebook.

Social media has done many positive things to bring people together, but there is a dark side.

Many studies have shown that checking social media can actually trigger depression because we often compare ourselves to our peers, creating feelings of inadequacy and doubt.

Heavily limit your exposure to your Facebook or Twitter feed. At work, check them only if you have to. Keep in mind that most people are always going to put their best foot forward, so don’t compare your insides to somebody else’s outsides.

10. Walk barefoot in the grass.

Being stuck inside all day without direct exposure from the sun, and without connecting to the energy of nature, can actually made a bad day even worse.

Grounding is the practice of exposing yourself to the ground, usually with your bare feet to help stimulate energy, improve immune function, and boost happiness.

The theory states that the earth’s magnetic field can lower stress hormones.

During your lunch break, find a grassy space where you can sit and relax for a few minutes, allowing your feet to rest in the grass. Enjoy your lunch or just sit and read a book for several minutes, letting your heart rate and stress levels go down.

These are just a few ideas to turn a bad day around. What helps you get out of a funk when you're feeling down?

Photo by Fah Rojvithee

About Sirena Bernal

Sirena is a pilates instructor and nutrition coach based out of Boston, MA. Her specialty is teaching women how gain more confidence, increase energy, and lose weight without dieting and excessive exercising. She blogs regularly on her site,

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  • sarah

    Thank you!!

    Cooking a meal for myself. Buying fresh fruit. Reading Tiny Buddha. Yoga. Singing.

    I live in a big city and it can sometimes feel isolating. Random acts of kindness to strangers and friends- always helps to lift my spirit! Examples: complimenting classmates, buying treats for friends, helping someone who is lost by walking with them and engaging in friendly conversation. Even something as simple as letting someone enter a space ahead of me as I hold the door for them- automatic mood boost. Simply smiling.

  • sarah

    I should also add that deleting my Facebook account helped 🙂

  • Nathan Gismot

    Thank you! Excellent post.

  • Your ideas are refreshing. I never would have thought about the hot/cold shower to get your circulation going.

    Writing is a big day-saver for me. Walking up to my favorite coffee shop. Taking 20 minutes to read a few blogs that I follow.

  • The hot/cold shower is amazing, that an a nice epsom salt bath.

    I’m with you on the writing too and journaling at night. I always find that I feel so much better when I stay on routine with this.

  • You’re welcome Nathan! I’m so glad you enjoyed 🙂

  • Sarah – I live in a city too, Boston, and I agree that it feels isolating at times. Smiling on the train at people, although can garner funny looks always helps me to feel better.

    Only thing about being in a city is that you get stopped by canvasers all the time, so it’s hard to stop for every one!

  • Lisa

    You forgot the #1 bad mood buster: CHOCOLATE!!

  • I *SO* needed this today! Am sharing on FB so others can turn a bad day around, too! Thank you so much for this list, which I am bookmarking for future reference next time I’m feeling *blah*!!! 🙂

  • These were great! One thought about the shower: flowing water creates negative ions which are a known mood-booster. Could be a reason why they help! Same with going outdoors.

  • shannon

    this is wonderful! it was also the perrrfect time and day for me to stumble across the tweet. Even if most of the options are out of reach it’s nice to just be reminded that bad days CAN turn around.

  • Tina

    Deep breathing always helps me and talking a walk with my dog is the best mood lifter!

  • Alex

    Some great tips here! Thanks. I am going to save this article.

  • Great list Sirena! Excellent. Thank you.

    Best regards,

  • SJ


  • Gracie0525

    Also: Do something completely selfless to make someone else happy – watch that person’s heart swell and their face light up with surprise and delight and I guarantee your Bad Day will simply evaporate! Suggestions range from so simple (let someone in front of you in the grocery line if they have only 2 things) to a not more complex (cancel whatever your/family plans are and head down to soup kitchen to serve dinner to homeless – only takes 90 minutes and they usually can accommodate an extra group – do call 1st …)

  • Hi Andi-Roo, Thank you for sharing the post! I’m glad you found it useful. I bookmark a bunch of YouTube videos when I need a pick me up.

  • What a delightful post! I often find that my thoughts can quickly spiral out of control … one small trigger can create a snowball effect. The other day my parents were emotionally blackmailing me for instance, and the entire day was ruined. I got so panicky that the day had turned out differently from what I expected (aka. nicely) that I started questioning life, and the philosophical reasons behind suffering. Looking back now, I see what I could have done to change that plunge into negativity, now it seems kind of funny to me! These are brilliant tips, thanks very much Sirena (nice name as well).

  • Karo Kendimian


  • Michelle

    Totally relate to this blog! I’ve seen me leave for work in a great mood and out of nowhere, in the middle of my day, one (often small thing) will put me in a bad mood! It doesn’t even make sense sometimes and its often hard to dig myself out. The advice is terrific and I know I do some of these suggestions already. I especially like the gratitude suggestion. Great article!

  • Beth

    That’s very true!! I was once told that if you eat chocolate it releases a certain chemical in your brain that put you in a better mood…..I must admit to have tried this when I feel sad 😉

  • lv2terp

    Great tips, thank you for sharing your experience 🙂

  • The Curious Cat

    I agree with a lot of these ideas! I even do these to cheer myself up without realising these days! 🙂

  • Hodzii

    Thanku for those amazing tips

  • Good Day

    Give water to plant, watch fishes moving in aquarium, meditation, appreciating others, watching small kids playing, sit in park and watch people exercising/jogging, think when you were small how your parents taught you to be brave at odd times, and so on….

  • Manuel Hernandez

    How incredible that singing was your first in the list! I have started to sing in my car during my conmute to work and its amazing how i had forgotten how good it makes me feel.

  • hana banana

    Didn’t helped me but great tips.

  • Gosia

    Absolutely great post Sirena! Thank you 🙂

    Best regards,

  • Heather

    I totally read the last one as “Walk barefoot in glass”

  • brain shrink

    it´s called dopamin(in norwegain atleast) and is your bodys natural way of pleasing itself. you get the same reaction from heroin, nicotine and such. ofc in smaller doses.

  • Evin tas


  • Buddy

    I can’t walk barefoot in the grass… It’s snowing. O.o

  • Brent

    Excellent tips!! Going to try these simple little things today!! Thanks!!!

  • Glass Joe

    Sorry to be the bringer of bad news, but none of these help.

    1. I don’t like singing, and my favorite song has no words.
    2. I don’t like showering.
    3. I have watched all of the funny YouTube vids, all the tips for fighting, etc.
    4. I don’t have any, as my apartment does not allow pets. My cat Frisky is at my grandma’s house, and my cat Dusk ran away.
    5. I’m not social. At all.
    6. Every time i think about breathing, it makes it hard for me to breathe. Oh, there it goes. Thanks.
    7. I don’t enjoy writing, it tires my arm. Yes, i am weak.
    8. I’ve been meaning to build my body, but just not having enough commitment, and i don’t think something i wanna do will help. Basically “i don’t like exercising.”
    9. I don’t have Facebook, my parents won’t let me.
    10. My parents don’t let me outside unless i’m going into the car.

    Also, if this helps, my spirit animal is the owl and my zodiac is cancer. It describes my personality. Also, my IQ is 160. Does that help any?

  • Glass Joe


  • Olivia

    My day didn’t get better my brother was at Get air eating pizza,cake playing on a Xbox and etc with his friends. while I got to lay in bed for the whole day being bored…Yep…I had a very bad day! -_-

  • Olivia

    Also none of these tips helped I tryed all of them

  • Barry

    I am so depressed I don’t know how to help myself no matter what I’m doing I’m indescribably miserable I make every one around me miserable I need help I can’t go on like this I spend every single day in my bed crying because I can’t drive and have nothing better to do because I have no friends and failed my permit text three times

  • Kryz

    This blog helped alot it had me writing and made me realize i have alot more than i thought to be grateful for and it outweighs the stuff thats bothering me

  • Elvie Rock

    OMG seriously!!!, be thankful that you are fucking alive Glass Joe

  • No

    Trite garbage. I don’t know why I keep coming back to this awful, uppity, high-horse website. Some of us can’t just close our eyes and count to 10 and press the magic “better now” button in our head.

  • These tip as amazing. Working in the reception and having to deal with people of many different moods all day I sometimes feel that this really is bringing down my mood. Next time this is happening I will defiantly try these tips out.

  • No

    This is a nice article but it doesn’t address resolving a bad mood at all. There are too many variables to really sum this up the way that it is summed up here. These are distractions. Some people have dad where they lose a job, crash briber car, lose a friend, become homeless. These answers ylibhave provided seem demeaning to that situation. This should be titled “first world problems” sadness or bad mood.

  • grayboo212

    I was really mad this afternoon so i walked barefoot in the grass and stepped in some fresh dog shit. Thanks. Didn’t cheer me up but the guy walking the dog in front of my house seemed pretty happy about it.

  • Danielle

    I wonder how so many good vibes can be destroyed by one bad comment. I think people like that are purposeful. I see why you just shook it off though. I have to learn to do that too.