5 Ways to Make a Bad Day Better

5 Ways to Make a Bad Day Better
Caravan accident near Peats Ferry, N.S.W. 1987. Photo by Ursula Powys-Lybbe (1910-1997) via State Library Victoria.

Have you ever had one of those days where you spill your coffee, nick yourself shaving, or some other little thing? All of a sudden what seemed like a reasonable day is in a ditch, and you’re looking for ways to make a bad day better.

Preferably before you end up in a Newton’s Third Law style chain of cause and effect death spiral into hell. (If you need a refresh, that’s the one that states “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”)

And unfortunately, in this case, time does not come with a reboot.

So here are five things you can try:

1. Take a Deep Breath

Often little things have the effect of stressing you out, and you start hyperventilating (breathing faster and therefore out more carbon dioxide than you are breathing in).

The effect of this is that your veins narrow and the blood flow to your brain is restricted, and you will feel lightheaded and perhaps lose consciousness.

You’ll often see this being treated by breathing in and out of a bag. But an easier (and less obvious) way is to take a deep breath, hold it for ten or fifteen seconds, then let it all out in a rush.

That also makes you drop your shoulders and that makes you relax your tense muscles a bit too.

2. Stand in the Sun

Some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that occurs in the cooler months of the year. It’s generally considered to be caused by a lack of Vitamin D, but other effects include reduced serotonin (a feel-good neurotransmitter), and melatonin which affects sleep and mood.

Oh, and it’s not just winter. Lots of people are worried about skin cancer and take a lot of precautions to avoid sunshine while they’re out.

You could take a bunch of pills, but the quickest and easiest way is to stand in the sun for five minutes.

And when I say stand in the sun, I mean eyes closed facing the sun, not back to it while you check your phone.

3. Get Physical

Sometimes, things go wrong because we’re being still and slow. And I’m thinking here about some of the fine motor skills you use when you’re using your mouse to adjust images and whatnot.

These kind of small motions build up tension in your larger muscles, and you just need to get rid of it. So get moving any way you want.

But I’m thinking the child having a tantrum in the supermarket chocolate aisle. Something with foot stamping, fist pumping and body jerking

Screeching or screaming is optional. As is throwing yourself on the ground and writing.

4. Smell the Roses

This one’s a bit of a double whammy, because you’re taking a bit of time out, and treating yourself to some aromatherapy. And if you have the flowers, you have some nice colours to look at too.

Or you could add oils to a burner.

Good scents include:

  • Roses
  • Lavender
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Sandalwood
  • Peppermint
  • Sandalwood
  • Wild Orange
  • Bergamot
  • Rosemary

5. Do Something Nice for Someone Else

Sometimes it feels like there is no way you can resurrect the wreckage of your day.

So why not try to forget about yourself and your shitty day, by trying to improve someone else’s.

It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture either – just a smile might be enough to give someone else a boost. Or you could buy them coffee or lunch, complement their appearance, or laugh at their corny jokes

And if your day is really shitty anyway, why not take the blame for something you didn’t do?

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