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Even the hardest days contain lessons that will help you be a better person. If you’re having a bad day, it can feel like things will never get better. However, the fact is that tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to improve your life.
If you had a bad day, consider these things to help pick yourself up and keep moving toward a full life.
1. No One Promised Life Would Be Perfect
“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” -Leo Tolstoy
Don’t condition your happiness on meeting every expectation you set for yourself. Setting goals is key to life. That’s the only way we move toward the kind of life we really want. However, if you’re having a bad day, goals can feel unattainable and challenges insurmountable.
Goals are not met overnight. It’s good to be ambitious, but you’ll never be perfect. If you expect otherwise, your life will be rife with disappointments. When you stumble on a goal you’re trying to achieve, learn the lesson it offers and move forward.
When you had a bad day, use the moments before you sleep to review your goals. You can write them down or even journal about each of them. This will help you refocus your mind for the next day.
2. Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight
“Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” -Molière
Don’t kid yourself into thinking success will come quickly. It isn’t easy to be patient, but anything worth doing requires time (often, lots of it!). If you get frustrated, remind yourself why your goal is important.
Waiting for good things to come can feel frustrating, and this frustration can lead us into having a bad day. If you’re feeling impatient, take a deep breath. Use a few minutes for meditation or for a walk in nature. This will help slow your mind down and root you in the present, helping to remind you of where you are and where you’re going.
Here are some of the benefits of walking in nature.
3. There Is a Lesson in Every Struggle
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive…But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” -Haruki Murakami
If you had a bad day, try not to focus on how terrible your life is. It’s tempting to do so, but stressing out won’t make you feel any better. If you search for the lesson in your present struggle, you’ll be able to make positive changes that would prevent similar situations in the future.
In order to do this, try specifying exactly what is causing you to have a bad day. For example, you may find that your controlling boss said something that put you in a bad mood. You can then analyze this.
Are you happy at your job? Would you be happier elsewhere? Are you ready to move on to something new?
Use these questions to guide you to lessons.
4. Hard Times Help You Appreciate the Good
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” -Arnold Schwarzenegger
Don’t get sad if you’re having a bad day because you’ve failed at something. It’s hard to find much to smile about when you fail, but how else would you improve yourself? If you look at failure as a part of your evolutionary process, you’ll stay positive and pursue your goals for as long as it takes.
Imagine having a life that is completely smooth, free of challenges, and without the joys or excitement of overcoming difficulties. Do you really think it would be all that interesting?
5. It’s Okay to Cry
“Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
Don’t be afraid of crying. It isn’t a sign of weakness, but rather an acceptable way to let go of your negative feelings. If you let those feelings build up without release, you’ll have a much harder time dealing with them later.
You can check out the reasons we cry in the video below:
This is often more difficult for men to accept because of the burden society has placed on them to be stoic. However, allowing your emotions to flow in order to avoid them taking control of you is one of the bravest things one can do.
6. Worry Makes You Suffer Twice
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.” -Corrie ten Boom
Don’t worry about everything, as it’ll only make you feel worse. It is human nature to obsess with all the things that could go wrong, but this will result in a self-inflicted mental nightmare.
J.K. Rowling once wrote that “worrying means you suffer twice.” You suffer when you worry about the thing that’s coming. You suffer once again when the thing actually happens. Worrying will change nothing and will only seep joy from the present moment in which nothing bad is actually happening.
If you forget about the things you can’t control, you’ll be empowered to to concentrate on the things you can. This can be difficult if you’re having a bad day, but try to identify which things to let go and which things you can really change in this moment.
7. No One’s Life Is as Picturesque as It Looks
“How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.” -Marcus Aurelius
When we scroll through our social media, it’s easy to fall into having a bad day when we see how great everyone’s lives look. Don’t fall into this trap.
If you feel like your life pales in comparison, realize that you are comparing yourself to a highlight reel of their lives. People will only show you what they want you to see, those seemingly perfect moments that, when combined, make it look like their whole life is perfect.
Social comparison on social media also hits your self-esteem. One study “showed that participants who used Facebook most often had poorer trait self-esteem, and this was mediated by greater exposure to upward social comparisons on social media”.
Basically, the more time you spend on social media, the more likely it is that your self-esteem will go down, which can lead to more and more bad days.
8. It Takes Courage to Ask for Help
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you had a bad day. It’s tough to put yourself in a vulnerable position, but opening up to a friend will help you deal with your troubles. Just make sure you’re turning to the right people. Find someone who you know will be sympathetic or someone who has been through something similar.
If you feel like a burden, remember that no one would have achieved much if they didn’t ask for support when they needed it.
9. There’s Always Something to Be Grateful for
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” -Abraham Lincoln
Think of something you are thankful for right now. It could be the cup of coffee you had this morning, the sweet puppy you’ll be going home to tonight, or the healthy set of eyes that allowed you to read this article.
It’s so easy to lose sight of these little things when we’re upset. I challenge you to break that trend.
The next time you get upset, think about something that makes you happy. Repeat this behavior until it becomes second nature. Your negative thoughts will have no power over you if you learn to stop lingering on them.
A great way to do this is to start a gratitude journal. You can start by writing three things each day that you’re grateful for and grow from there. There are also many great gratitude applications if you prefer to stick to technology.
If you want to know more about how to start a gratitude journal and its benefits, check out this article.
Bad days are temporary. When you find yourself in one, try to identify what’s caused you to have a bad day so that you can work to overcome it tomorrow and get back to feeling good. Feel what you need to feel and then allow yourself to move on to better days.
More on What to Do When You’re Having a Bad Day
Featured photo credit: Pablo Varela via unsplash.com
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