It usually strikes when you least expect it … or on any given Monday. I’m talking about a bad day that just seems to be snowballing into the worst day ever. It’s okay, because it happens to the best of us. Here are seven steps to turn that frown upside-down.
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One terrible workday can be enough to make you question everything about yourself as a professional and a person. The key is to nip the bad day in the bud so that you aren’t sent on a downward spiral or left to sulk in your negative emotions for too long. Therefore, having an arsenal of ways to ditch the downer mood is crucial to being able to reclaim your day so that times like these don’t jeopardize your career.
Step 1: Acceptance is the First Step
Before you do anything, simply accept or surrender to the fact that you are, indeed, having “one of those days.” Don’t take it personally or beat yourself up over it by blaming yourself, because that won’t help anyone or anything improve. Once you get past the fact that things aren’t going your way, you’ll stop fighting reality and clear space to move on to the next step.
Step 2: Break Away
The best thing to do is to temporarily remove yourself from the situation that is causing you grief. Go outside for a walk, a breath of fresh air, or simply to clear your mind and change stimulus. Your employer/boss will understand that you need a moment to regain composure so that you can come back and tackle the day ahead.
Step 3: Deep Breaths
“Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness,” says The American Institute for Stress. By doing some simple deep breathing exercises, you can reduce the anxiety and stress from your bad day. While you’re on your break, try to escape for a few minutes outside and do some deep breathing and kill two birds with one stone.
Step 4: Count Your Blessings
What better way to distract yourself from the less-than-terrific day than to remind yourself of the blessings in your life. Look at pictures of your family or text a friend/loved one and tell that person you love them – whatever you do, ensure that it makes you feel good about yourself and your life. The objective is to revert your focus to something positive and comforting so that the negativity from the day doesn’t eat at you anymore.
Step 5: Remember, It’s One Bad Day
Just because you’re having a bad day, doesn’t mean you have a bad life. Once you are able to see that one day isn’t it for the rest of your life, then you’ll be more confident to overcome the ill feelings and make it a good day … or as good as it possibly can be.
Step 6: Lesson Learned/Takeaway
There is always a lesson in tough times, so try to see where you can learn/grow in the given situation, regardless of whether anyone is at fault or not. Maybe your bad day was the result of an oversight on a report or presentation and your boss pointed out to the team – the lesson should be to double-check your work next time. Find the good in the situation.
Step 7: Make an Action Plan
Now that you’re calmer and more prepared to take on the rest of the day, it’s time to make an action plan to resolve or improve what’s causing the negativity in your day. Ensure that your action plan doesn’t involve placing blame, but rather points towards a viable solution to the problem. Don’t focus on what went wrong. Instead, focus on how to move past the issue and on preventative measures for the future.
When a bad day strikes, the most important thing to remember is to not let your emotions get the best of you and turn a completely manageable situation (i.e. a bad day) into a complete disaster. Being able to bounce back from a bad situation is a sign of maturity, and it’s essential for a successful career.
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