5 Tips for Improving a Bad Day

5 Tips for Improving a Bad Day
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Written and verified by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 28 July, 2022

Who hasn’t had a bad day? One of those days when you get up and everything seems to be conspiring against you. You run out of soap, breakfast is burning, it rains even though the forecast called for sun. People look at you as if something were wrong with you. You say something and it’s taken the wrong way. Everything, absolutely everything, is going wrong…

Sometimes a bad day looks like when you have something important to do and everything goes wrong. Maybe a project at work that you spearheaded. You prepared it with care but the final results are disappointing. Or you have an important meeting with someone special who cancels, after you made sure everything was ready.

Nobody is safe from having a bad day. But you don’t have to accept it and just feel helpless. You can always do something to improve a bad day and make it into a good one. After all, it’s another day of life. And whenever there is life, there are also ways to repair what is not right.

“Success is not in always winning, rather, it is in never being discouraged.”

– Napoleon Bonaparte-

1. Take a break

Stressful situations sometimes get the better of us. They start with a minor discomfort and then it grows into a real concern. Then, without realizing how it happened, you are suddenly a nervous wreck and about to explode. But if you stop stress in time, your bad day will improve. 

Every time you’re in a situation that stress you out, take a short break. If you can, take a longer one. Take advantage of it to breathe, listen to your favorite song, or read something nice. Or just take a quick walk. It will help you cut through the stress and think more clearly.

Having a bad day on the ocean.

2. Refuse to make self-fulfilling prophecies

One bad day does not mean the days that follow will be bad. Nor does a bad hour mean the rest of the day will be bad. However, sometimes we fall into the error of assuming that the first bad thing is a sign of worse to come.

Thus we unwittingly make negative self-fulfilling prophecies. We say things like, “It would have been better if I had stayed in bed”. Or we say we have bad luck. While we might not be conscious of it, we are setting the stage for negativity to continue.

The key is to change your focus from the negative to the positive, or at least to finding possible alternatives. Looking for solutions will help us improve a bad day, instead of feeling helpless and lamenting our state.

3. Change your body chemistry

Bad moods and stress cause chemical changes in your body. Particularly in your brain. Some hormones are activated while others are inhibited. Now, you do not get out of that state just because. So we need to do something to change this chemistry.

One way to do this is by doing a little exercise. It can be a brisk walk or quick yoga routine. Or, why not dance? Moving helps you restore that chemical balance. Another option is to eat some healthy foods, especially fresh fruits or vegetables.

Taking a walk.

4. Focus on constructive things

You can always learn from anything that happens to you. All you have to do is adopt the right attitude. You just have to open your mind and ask yourself if there is anything you can learn from what happened. What does it all say about you?

It is also important to think positive thoughts. Think, for example, of those days when everything goes well for you. Bring nice memories into your head. Look carefully and appreciate the good that is around you. Give thanks for it all.

5. Do something better

A bad day is also an excellent opportunity to demand more of yourself. Yes, demand more. If you typically do a half hour of exercise a day, do an hour. If you normally do your job well, do it better. Dedicate more time and effort. You could also do something special for a person you have neglected.

Freedom in the sunset.

Throwing yourself onto the sofa and waiting for the day to end is not an option. Neither is spending the rest of the day doing the bare minimum. On the contrary: channel that discomfort you feel into additional effort. It will make you feel better about yourself. You’ll see how it will eventually improve your mood.

Remember that no matter what happens, a bad day does end. Tomorrow the sun will rise again. If you managed to deal with the situation, then tomorrow will be much better than today. The future is yours.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.