So what can you do to turn it around?
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, offers these tips, to help turn a terrible day into possibly a terrific one.
- Resist the urge to “treat” yourself – instead do something nice for someone else. Often, the things we choose as “treats” aren’t good for us. The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt, loss of control, and other negative consequences just deepen the lousiness of the day. “Do good, feel good” – this really works. Be selfless, if only for selfish reasons.
- Seek inner peace through outer order. Soothe yourself by tackling a messy closet, an untidy desk, or crowded countertops. The sense of tangible progress, control, and orderliness can be a comfort.
- Exercise is an extremely effective mood booster – but be careful of exercise that allows you to ruminate. For example, if I go for a walk when I’m upset about something, I often end up feeling worse, because the walk provides me with uninterrupted time in which to dwell obsessively on my troubles.
- Stay in contact. When you’re having a lousy day, it’s tempting to retreat into isolation. Studies show, though, that contact with other people boosts mood.
- Things really will look brighter in the morning. Go to bed early and start the next day anew. Also, sleep deprivation puts a drag on mood in the best of circumstances, so a little extra sleep will do you good.
- Remind yourself of your other identities. If you feel like a loser at work, send out a blast email to engage with college friends. If you think members of the PTA are mad at you, don’t miss the spinning classwhere everyone knows and likes you.
- Keep perspective. Ask yourself: “Will this matter in a month? In a year?”
- Write it down. When something horrible is consuming my mind, I find that if I write up a paragraph or two about the situation, I get immense relief.