“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