Are you having a horrible day right now? Maybe your pregnancy hormones are raging, or a new medication has produced a whole host of unpleasant side effects. Perhaps a close friend or family member recently passed away, or you were passed over for a much-anticipated promotion. Maybe you just ended a long relationship, had a car accident, lost your wallet, or heard that your best friend is moving away. There are endless causes and combinations that can result in a wretched day, and it seems like there are limited ways to cope.
Women especially can have trouble sorting through their feelings when confronted with a particularly bad day because – as the more intuitive sex – we’re made to feel like we’re the lifeguards on duty, keeping everyone else afloat. When you’re experiencing a bad day, it can be compounded by the external pressures of having to look and seem like you have it all together.
Modern women are perceived as having it all when they can demonstrate that their children, jobs, relationships, finances, and households are in excellent working order. However, this can lead to some pretty overwhelming feelings of shame when we’re forced to admit that a bad day has gotten the better of us. Fortunately, there are several things you can do right now to alleviate some of that pressure, guilt, and negativity. Simply take a deep breathe and start implementing the six tips, below.
Even when it seems like the world is coming down around you, chances are someone out there has it much worse than you. Anguish can be relieved by altering your perspective. Instead of focusing narrowly on the problem at hand and how bad it’s making you feel, shift your attention towards something in your life that you’re grateful for. Alternatively, you could try to physically express gratitude by doing something nice for someone else, like baking cookies for your colleagues or offering to babysit for friends.
Snag Some Solitude
In order to drown out the cacophony in your head or immediate environment, carve out some alone time. It doesn’t even have to be longer than ten minutes, but it is necessary to find a modicum of solitude. Once you’re alone, close your eyes and try a quick meditation routine. We highly recommend the free ten-minute sessions offered by the meditation app Headspace. Even if you’ve never meditated before, this solitary act can help bring your heart rate down, steady your nerves, and increase oxygen flow to your brain.
Let It Out
If you’re keeping your emotions in, it’s time to let them out before you blow a gasket. However, we recommend doing this in a structured way (as opposed to just unleashing them on the nearest innocent passerby). Instead of ranting away at anyone who will listen, phone a trusted confidante or family member and outline your issues. Listen to their advice, even if it doesn’t completely apply to the situation, and start to verbally work through your problems with them.
If your matter is intensely personal and you don’t feel comfortable sharing it with them, now is the time to schedule an appointment with a reputable therapist. Don’t let feelings of anger, helplessness, frustration, or despair fester until they become malignant. Finally, you can always take the Bridget Jones route to alleviating emotions by scheduling a crying session – seriously. Crying is a healthy outlet, especially when you feel like you’re going to burst from anxiety or sadness.
How do you talk to yourself? Would you talk to your best friend that way? If the answer is a resounding “No!” then it might be time to take a serious look at the way you think about yourself. One way to do that is by paying close attention to the things you tell yourself and then consciously rewriting the script. For example, if you’re constantly telling yourself, “You’re not good enough, you’re such a failure,” then change the script. Instead, say, “You’re doing your best, and I’m really proud of you.” Every time you catch yourself slipping back into those old mantras, consciously stop yourself and repeat your new mantra until it becomes a habit.
Get Out of Your Own Head
Sometimes, it’s the dwelling that really gets to you. When you’ve lodged yourself into a deep mental rut by worrying about or obsessing over the same thing, it’s time to get out of your own head and into a fresh state of mind. One of the best ways to do this is by completely changing your environment. Go outside, go swimming, go shopping, take a luxurious bath, blast your favorite playlist at full volume, get your butt kicked at Barry’s Bootcamp, have dinner with friends, or do anything else that is pleasurable and different from your normal routine.
Fake It 'Til You Make It
Even the best intentions can result in a negative outcome. Translation: No matter how hard you try, you might not be able to make yourself feel better out of sheer willpower. One of the most important tools for instantly improving a seemingly impossible mood is simply to fake it. That’s right – when you want to frown or cry or scream, try smiling and laughing instead. Yes, it will feel weird and unnatural at first, but working those smile muscles will trigger all sorts of unconscious associations with positive emotional states. Furthermore, you could put on a hilarious movie, read a funny book, or watch a comedy special to help you fake it until you feel it for real.
Promo Photo: Courtesy of @mindbodygreen