How to Survive a Bad Day

For instance, a day like today

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Not my finest moment (Botswana, 2007) — © Rafael Sarandeses

Was this a good day for you? Did you do anything fun? Did you meet someone new? Did you win at anything?

If so, I am happy for you. Savour the moment. Because you may have had a bad day yesterday. Or you may have one tomorrow. Either way, enjoy it will it lasts.

Some days just go awfully wrong. Something bad happens and then everything seems to feed a trend.

Well, today was one of those days.

So here I am, thinking of how I could end the day in a better tone. Helping myself get some distance.

These are some ideas, let me know if they help…

Write about it.

Let words flow. Put it on paper and out of your brain. Give frustration a way out.

My subconscious decided to reach for the laptop and punch the keyboard to level off the pressure. It works for me. I write when I need to be creative or put myself in problem solving mode. Thoughts connect with each other and my brain gets into a state of flow.

But I also write to find peace, to cool off. To put aside the tension of a bad day. I download the frustration. It puts me at ease.

Some days I write to remember. To create. To relive. Some days I write to forget. And on a glorious day like today, I write to put all this stuff in a box and kick it.

Embrace a bit of chaos. It won’t hurt.

You didn’t plan to have a bad day. Nobody does. But it will happen, because once in a while things won’t go according to schedule. You need to allow for some margin of error. A bad day will use that margin.

Life is not a straight line. At best, we aim to keep bouncing against the kerbs at each side of the path, hoping that we will keep some sense of direction over time. Your principles, your overarching goals, your values. That is what those kerbs are made of. The stronger the principles sustaining your aspirations, the better those kerbs will help you sustain your direction.

Order is certainty. Chaos is possibility. Where there is no possibility there is no growth. No chance of change or evolution. Drop the need to control every outcome. Learn from today. Feel the opportunity to be better tomorrow.

Bounce off that bloody kerb, trust your goals and your sense of direction. The storm will pass.

Acceptance of our feelings help us move beyond your frustration.

Am I good at this? Am I making progress? What am I doing here?

A classic.

Things happen for a reason. You are exactly where you should be in life. Period. You are in your own race. You cannot compare yourself to anyone. Nobody has put you there. You did, your chosen path led you here. You cannot pretend to be anyone else. This moment in your life is teaching you something. Accept it, don’t resist it.

Then, take some perspective. You are not defined by your bad days.

Time to crack a laugh, make fun of yourself.

You are the same person that had a great day yesterday or the day before. The same person that did that amazing something a couple of days back.

Just know that our brains are useless with good memories. We like the bad ones better. We are a bunch of chemicals in action, let us not forget this fact of life.

Focus on the materiality of things.

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” — John Maxwell

Is the world going to end? Most likely not. Sun will rise tomorrow. So balance your feelings out and project yourself one year forward. Is there a chance you will laugh about today then? Will you even remember about this day?

Refocus your attention: think of the day’s positives instead.

Defeat the bad day.

Instead of drowning in your own toxic juices, end your day by writing down 3 good things that happened to you today. After all, maybe there is something good in disguise in all this? In fact, my bad day made me write this piece. Something good came out of it.

Count your blessings.

Remind yourself of your aspirations, go back to your safe zone. Pick your grit from the floor. Make a commitment to be better tomorrow. Write that commitment down and go to bed.

And now, if you don’t mind… I am going to bed too.

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