We’ve all had them. Sometimes they creep up on you in a chronological frenzy: over sleeping your alarm, resulting in a missed breakfast, resulting in a Starbucks run, resulting in the unfortunate fate of being late for your class/meeting because you bumped into someone and are now covered in coffee, resulting in a forgotten presentation, resulting in the remembrance of your fear of public speaking, resulting in a painful flashback from your grade five spelling bee and a flash flood of every insecure thought that has crossed your mind.
It is obvious, today is just not your day.
Other times you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, perhaps after a fight with your best friend the night before, maybe you have 30 missed calls from your mom or you just spent the majority of your much coveted sleep hours finishing a project. It definitely seems like today is not going to be a good day.
However, I disagree. If I have learned anything in my 20 years of existence it’s that I may not have control of the curveballs life throws but I do have complete control over how I react.
Remember when we were little and our parents told us we could be anything we wanted? Maybe you’re never going to be an Olympic gold medalist or a famous movie star ( maybe you will!) but I think this concept of choice can apply to our emotions.
Sometimes choosing to make today a good, happy, day may not be as easy as it seems. I am in no way downplaying the realness and legitimacy of mental illness as I realize a chemical imbalance may not simply be fixed by choosing to be happy. However, here are a few of my tips for flipping the switch of your mindset when you are simply having a bad day :
- Start the day off right: Spend five minutes thinking of or writing down the things in your life you are grateful for, maybe it’s the little things like having a roof over your head or maybe it’s the bigger things like the wonderful people in your life or the great opportunities you have been given. You will quickly realize you have so many things to appreciate and all of this gratitude greatly outweighs the negativity you are feeling.
- Exercise: Duh, yes I know. You’ve heard it A MILLION times. But that’s because it’s true and it works. After working out a chemical is released in your brain that actually makes you happier ( scientific fact!). Not only will you naturally feel happier but you can also feel proud of yourself for not being a couch potato and binge watching your latest Netflix guilty pleasure. Turn that negative energy into productivity! Yoga is a personal favourite always, but especially when I am feeling down and less energetic. You get the chance to really tune into your body and be mindful. Yoga always makes me so happy!
- Get outside: The world we live in is absolutely gorgeous. It is also absolutely enormous. I find that being outside ( ideally when I’m paddle boarding, hiking or star gazing) makes me feel so tiny. It gives me perspective and helps me realize that in the scheme of things and my problems really are insignificant. Why waste time being upset when you can be appreciative of all the natural beauty surrounding us?
- Relax: To me, nothing says relax better than a hot bath ( although lying on a beach is pretty comparable, but less accessible). Feel clean, feel calm, feel good.
- Essential Oils: I have a diffuser and it is magic. I especially love using my lavender, goddess, yoga and tantra saje oils. It is so soothing.
- Meditate: This may sound like some hippy dippy crazy talk but I completely disagree. I have an app on my phone called Stop, Breathe & Think and I love it. It’s a fantastic way to clear your mind and feel better about your problems. If you are having trouble falling asleep, it is also a great option. I have been using my app since high school and I continue to use it a
ll the time.
- Surround yourself with people who make you happy: I read once that you are most like the 5 people you spend the most time with. I believe it. Surrounding yourself with kind people will decrease drama and make you feel better about yourself, both acting as preventative measures for a bad day. If you are already having a bad day, these people are the ones who can distract you, listen to your raging rant, or offer advice or comfort.
- Treat yo self : Sometimes you deserve a shopping spree or that bowl of ice cream (in moderation of course). If it helps shift your perspective and make you feel better, I believe once and a while it is alright!
At the end of the day, the choice to have a good day is yours. Although, I believe that sometimes the bad days allow us to gain greater appreciation of the good days. If every day was a 10/10 best day of my life day, could it really still be the best? Probably not. Sometimes it’s okay to cry or be angry and listen to a little Bon Iver or Lana Del Rey. But it is important to remember that either way, happy, sad or mad, you have some control and actively are making a choice.
“In one and the same fire, clay grows hard and wax melts.” -Francis Bacon