5 Tips to Feel Up on Down Days

Having a difficult day is normal—but how we respond to those down days is extremely important.

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Let’s face it—some days are better than others.

Our very bad day might be due to our health, our work, or even the weather, but having a difficult day is still a fact. And how we respond to those down days is extremely important.

In the past, I remember thinking that when I felt down or under the weather, there was something wrong with me. I was under the mistaken impression that I needed to feel good all the time. It felt as though that expectation created a lot of pressure in my life—until I realized that nobody could expect to be blissfully happy every day.

So I started paying attention to those down times and noticed that each time I came out of a lull, I ended up with a clearer vision and a new zest for life that I didn’t have before. Having the occasional down day turned out to be okay—it served a purpose.

The lows of life are as important as the highs. They are times of reflection, gathering information, comparing and contrasting thoughts and feelings, and refreshing our perspective. Think of it like sleeping. When you sleep, your body restores and heals itself. When you wake, you usually feel refreshed and renewed.

Having a down day? Here are some tips to help lift your spirits:

1. Listen to good music. Playwright William Congreve wrote in The Mourning Bride, “Musick has charms to soothe a savage breast,” (often misquoted as, “Music has charms to soothe the savage beast,”) and rightfully so. The calming and healing powers of music have been documented throughout the centuries.

2. Connect with someone. Go out for lunch or coffee; pick up the phone, chat, IM, text—whatever you like—just connect with a friend or family member. Sometimes just talking to someone can lift your mood, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

3. Read a book or watch a movie. Pick up a new book or re-read a favorite; leaf through one of those magazines stacked on your coffee table; or surf Netflix and find a good movie. Healthy distractions can bring quick relief on those challenging days.

4. Walk in nature. Go outside and take a nice long walk. Besides the exercise and fresh air for your body, walking can also be restorative for the mind. Allow your troubles to take a break and just enjoy moving and breathing.

5. Focus on what you have. Gratitude always brings relief, and giving thanks for what we already have is something we can do at any time, anywhere. Things could always be worse.

Life isn’t about being perfect; life is about being present. Embrace the down times. Embrace the days we don’t feel so great, for in those days, we are internally realigning ourselves with what we really want. And when we start moving back into alignment, better balance is near.

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg helps people find clarity and balance in all areas of life. Learn more at

For more tips about keeping a positive perspective, pick up a copy of 21 Days to Better Balance, or one of Michael’s other books at


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