3 ways to have a better day
When we’re feeling down, our pain and sadness can often be overwhelming—and prevent us from seeing a way to feel better. Practising mindfulness can help put some space between yourself and your bad day, so you can acknowledge all of your emotions and treat yourself with compassion.
Here are three ways to recover from a bad day.
First, identify where your feelings are coming from. Sometimes, a bad mood may catch us off guard, making it difficult to understand what we can do to feel better.
“Name it and you tame it.”
Naming or labelling difficult emotions helps us disentangle, or “unstick,” from them. Research shows that when we label difficult emotions, the amygdala—a brain structure that registers danger—becomes less active and is less likely to trigger a stress reaction in the body. When we gently say, “This is anger” or “Fear is arising,” we usually feel some emotional freedom—there is some space around the feeling. Instead of being lost in the emotion, we can recognise that we are having the emotion and therefore have more choice of how to respond.
Try sitting with the difficult emotion, taking ten minutes to practise a meditation that allows you to slow down, identify how you’re feeling, and gain emotional freedom.
Then, treat yourself with kindness. It’s important to recognise that all of us fail, make mistakes, feel sad, and sometimes, simply need a break. When a bad mood hits, don’t chastise yourself for being “over dramatic,” or tell yourself you don’t deserve to feel upset. Instead, treat yourself with the same love and support you would give to a friend. Use positive affirmations to extend kindness towards yourself.
Finally, find time for gratitude. Research has linked gratitude with a wide range of benefits, including strengthening your immune system and improving sleep patterns, feeling optimistic and experiencing more joy and pleasure, being more helpful and generous, and feeling less lonely and isolated.
Try writing down three things every day that you are truly grateful for. They don’t have to be big things, simply having a space to enjoy nature, or having people in your life who like you as you are or even the fact you can enjoy reading a book or listening to music.
Create a gratitude journal, after a few weeks of doing this , you will be able to reflect back on all the things you have in your life.
The next time you are having a bad day, try one or more of the exercises, see if it helps, what do you have to lose?
Mindfulness teacher and self care coach