Everyone Has Good Days and Bad Days

Bad days don't appear for no reason. Often, behind them lie stranded emotions and thoughts that have become stuck in your mind that you need to solve, calmly and correctly. At these times, self-care is key.
Everyone Has Good Days and Bad Days
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 06 January, 2024

There are some days when you feel like you could conquer the world and others when you can barely be bothered to get out of bed. Is there something wrong with you? Do these ups and downs in your mood signify a problem? Of course not. You’re not a machine or an infallible robot. You’re a human being. You have good days and bad days.

As a rule, you manage to cope with those times when you feel overcome by feelings of despondency and are unable to function too well. Sometimes, your mind steps in and tells you Come on, push yourself, you’ve things to do”. However, your body doesn’t always comply and, on these occasions, your brain might say Sorry, today my reserves of enthusiasm, desire, and motivation have run out”.

Rest assured, this lack of energy isn’t always due to a health problem. That said, when you find yourself trapped by feelings of despondency, it’s often really difficult to escape. It’s a complex mix of psychological processes and emotions. It includes thoughts, physical sensations, concerns, and various types of emotions (apathy, sadness, frustration, etc).

Once again, we reiterate that the days when you feel down are by no means a reflection that you’re suffering from any disorder. It’s not necessarily depression. That said, you must ensure that these states don’t last too long. As they come, they must go. They should be passing visitors, the kinds that leave behind their message, freeing you up to make way for better days.

Lazy man in front of the computer representing those days when everything can

The bad days

Curiously, experts in the psychology of motivation claim that the ups and downs of life enrich us as human beings. Indeed, going through times when you feel as if you can conquer the world, followed by those in which you can barely do anything teach you several things. The first is that you’re not infallible and hitting rock bottom occasionally is completely normal.

Knowing why you occasionally fall apart and what lies behind your despondency allows you to get to know yourself better. However, the problem is that you don’t like those down days and you tend to defend yourself against them by trying to get rid of them. In effect, without realizing it, you camouflage your discomfort. But you don’t really understand it or know how to manage those hidden realities that turn off your desire to conquer the world.

Therefore, almost without realizing it, these problems become entrenched and your brain enters a cycle of constant ups and downs. This can easily lead to helplessness, the camouflaged form of depression known as dysthymia. You must be careful.

The days when you don’t feel like doing anything should only be occasional and certainly not recurrent. They’re moments when there’s no other option but to talk to yourself and exercise some emotional self-care.

Why do you feel this way?

On days when everything feels overwhelming and life seems to weigh you down, you feel despondent. You might try a thousand strategies to avoid it. Sleeping, taking a walk, watching tv, listening to music, meeting a friend, playing sports… All of these strategies are an attempt to mask your despondency. You hide it. But this means you don’t solve it.

However, it’s essential that you connect with the origin and trigger of this state of mind. At these difficult times, you might experience the following:

  • Social comparison. According to a study conducted by Harvard University led by Dr. Todd Rogers, we tend to compare our performance (what we do and what we achieve or have) with our closest environment. If you look at what others have achieved while feeling at a disadvantage, it feeds your despondency as well as low self-esteem.
  • The tendency to see the negative side of things. Although you probably don’t realize it, you often go through life looking at everything in a negative way. In other words, you only see difficulties, problems, uncertainty, and the mistakes you’ve made. It’s an obvious mode of suffering.
  • Excessively listening to the critical and perfectionist self. Many of us have highly harmful and dangerous inner selves. They’re the kinds that feed on internal dialogues based on self-criticism, in the search for absolute perfectionism, the one in which mistakes have no place.
  • Neglected emotions and needs. Taking care of your emotions is an act of psychological hygiene. That said, you tend to be skillful in taking the opposite action. You hide what hurts, frustrates, disappoints, and makes you angry. This creates even more suffering. It’s something that you must never leave until tomorrow to deal with.
Worried man feeling lonely at home

What to do on the bad days

You can’t solve the problem behind the bad days by going out to see a movie or binge eating. These behaviors are far from appropriate. In fact, you mustn’t avoid these days, you must face and accept them. Moreover, you must allow yourself to uncover what lies behind them and what you need to solve.

  • Attend to your thoughts and concerns. Don’t try and replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. That strategy doesn’t work. You must give them presence and reason. Try and understand if they’re logical, if they have a basis, and what you can do to alleviate them.
  • Connect with your emotions. Connect with the sensations that your body is experiencing. For instance, anger, sadness, and fear. Practices such as relaxation or meditation can be helpful.
  • Have a plan. On the good days, when you feel like you can conquer the world, give yourself time to relax and connect with yourself calmly. After working out what’s worrying you and the reason why you’re feeling this way, create a plan and some short-term goals. Establish the goals that motivate you and that are easy to achieve. This will increase your feelings of hope and control as well as your ability to achieve.

Finally, you’re entitled to have good days and bad days. In fact, you learn from all of them and eventually come out stronger. For this reason, don’t be afraid of the bad days. They’re merely blips in your timeline that you must accept, face, and understand. It’s well worth remembering.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

    • Todd Rogers, Avi Feller (2016) Discouraged by Peer Excellence: Exposure to Exemplary Peer Performance Causes Quitting, First Published January 29, 2016 Research Article  https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797615623770

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