Ten things you can do to make a 'bad day' better - Michelle Gibbings

Growth and changeBad days. Crap days. Days when you don’t feel like getting out of bed, or wish you hadn’t.  We all have them, as they are a fundamental ingredient of life.

Think about it for a minute: if every day you had was great you’d never truly appreciate those great days.  You’d likely take them for granted.

Of course, how you respond to a bad day will either make it worse or better.

What do you do when you have a bad day?  Do you ruminate and let yourself spiral into the bad day funk, making the day worse for everyone around you? Or do you find a way around it or through it?

We all know those people at work who you are warned to steer clear of when they are having a bad day; so you don’t get caught in the cross fire.  This reputation impacts their brand and leadership ability.

On the other end of the spectrum are people, who in the face of incredible adversity, appear remarkably calm and in control and are able to bounce back, reframe what has happened to make it easier for them to accept, and move on.

In a world that’s constantly changing and throwing up obstacles and challenges, this ability to withstand stress and adversity and be resilient is critical.

Taking this approach doesn’t mean you ignore how you feel or that you don’t experience stress, sadness or hurt.  It’s about how you respond to it.  Do you let it over-whelm you and consume your every waking thought and action?

People who are resilient have a way of recognising what’s created the ‘bad day’, reframing what it means and so adapting to the changed circumstances.

The famous Roman Emperor and philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, understood the power of resilience and that we all have a choice to make about how we respond to events:

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment”.

The good news is there are actions you can take every day, and in particular on your bad days, to bounce back:

  1. Be more mindful – take the time to stop, breath, reflect and then respond to the event which caused the stress, rather than react to it
  2. Search for options – when you are faced with an unwelcome situation work through the options and what decisions you can and can’t make.  Feeling like you have a choice as to your response puts you in a more positive state
  3. Accept what you can’t change – we can’t control or influence everything, so be clear on what you can’t control and focus your energy on what you can control and influence
  4. Adopt a gratitude mantra – expressing gratitude is scientifically proven to help you feel happier and it works with resilience too
  5. Help others – helping others in need helps you realise the positive forces in your life and is a key part of leading a happy and healthy life
  6. Be curious and have an open mind – investigating issues through multiple lenses helps you see things from different perspectives.  This, in turn, helps you realise that your view of the event may be negatively skewed
  7. Strive to find purpose in your life – people with purpose are happier and more resilient as they are clear about their goals and where they are heading in life
  8. Maintain strong connections with friends and family – sharing how you feel, talking to people and being open about how you feel is healthy and good for the soul
  9. Manage stress – meditating, exercising, eating well and laughing will all help get you out of your bad day funk
  10. Learn from your mistakes – viewing mistakes as an opportunity to experiment, learn and grow, rather than viewing them as a failure.  This includes recognising that you are a not failure, you just happened to not succeed on this occasion

Think about the words of Nelson Mandela who said: “Do not judge me by my success. Judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”.


Getting you ready for tomorrow, today. 

Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’ and  ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate your Career’.  For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact michelle@michellegibbings.com.

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