How to move more gracefully through a bad day

From losing your keys or forgetting an appointment to missing out on an expected promotion, some days just don’t go your way. When your day gives you the blues, your mind can become your worst enemy. But with some focused thoughts and actions, you can get through it all with your sanity intact – even with grace.

Here are eight ideas to help you navigate a bad day:

  1. Take it one step at a time

When we have a difficult day, it’s common to feel as if the world is crashing down. It’s easy to get caught up in reliving the frustrating events in your head over again until you feel completely bogged down.

To make it through your day without this sense of paralyzation, focus on what is directly in front of you. Think about the very next step in your day, and then direct your brainpower to that task alone. The need to repetitively redirect your attention can be frustrating, but it also can break through that sense of helplessness.

This challenge of continually bringing your mind back to the present moment is the essential idea behind mindfulness, which helps you feel more in control of your feelings.

  1. Make a list

The list can be a simple two-minute activity. Jot down the repetitive thoughts that keep threatening your focus. Putting them down on paper will reassure your brain that you are keeping track and will deal with these issues later.

This list can include experiences, thoughts and feelings. So, if a fight with your brother earlier this morning is weighing on your mind, make a note of it! A simple statement can free your brain to deal with the tasks currently in front of you.

  1. Shake your sillies out

As you may suspect, this advice is often given to preschool kids. But it works beautifully for adults too. We all need to take time and shake out and shake off bad energy and emotions. Sneak a five or ten-minute break into your day where you do some jumping jacks, dance, sing loudly along with music or something similarly silly and satisfying. This adrenaline boost is good for resetting your brain and spirit.

Turning up one of your favorite tunes can jump-start a shift in your overall attitude. Combining some movement and beloved music is a great way to care for yourself. In fact, music is proven to help cope with stress.

  1. Cry if you need to

But holding in negative emotions isn’t always possible or healthy. Sometimes, we simply need to let those feelings out.  While we have to function in the adult world, we also have to allow for our humanity. When you need to, make the extra effort to find a private place for short cry – even in the middle of the day. This can be just the thing you need to lift some weight off your chest and get on with the day.

  1. Remind yourself that you are awesome

Maybe you weren’t at your best at work today – you lost an important paper or missed a deadline – but you’ve really been there for your family lately. Or perhaps you forgot a lunch date with your friend, but you recently won an award for your art.

There are many versions of yourself in the world. None of us are perfect or can exceed in all areas all of the time. But when you’re having a terrible day, be sure to remind yourself of your successes.

  1. This too shall pass

It can be comforting to realize that most of the things you are upset about now will be forgotten in a few months – maybe even weeks. Very little in life is going to be of such importance that it will follow you through an entire year. Although it’s a rough day today, you can remind yourself that it will pass.

7. Find comfort in venting

Sometimes, venting can be cathartic. If you have someone you can call or speak to who doesn’t mind, give them an earful about how terrible your day has been. Maybe they’ll be sympathetic and helpful, and you’ll feel better. Perhaps they’ll even offer a new perspective. At the very least you’ll feel less alone.

  1. Center yourself

Getting through what seems like an endless, awful day is simply hard, however you face it. Connecting with your deepest, calmest self can make it less difficult, though. A five-minute meditation, a walk in nature, yoga poses – whatever works for you – find that place inside yourself that is present and whole.

A bad day can give you the blues, and finding your balance can help you manage your emotions. Take care of yourself and remember, you aren’t alone. We all have those days. Center yourself by using this meditation to find “Inner Peace” when you need it most.


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