Average reading time – 9 minutes
Those days. We’ve all had them. You get out of the wrong side of bed. Curse everything around you for no apparent reason. Or perhaps you start off in a good mood, but small things set you off – you miss a train by milliseconds (seriously the train driver could see you running so why didn’t they stop), or step in a deeper-than-expected puddle in new shoes (which, of course, are not water-resistant). You forgot to hang the washing last night and now it smells musty…
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could turn our day around in an instant, to feel instantly better, so we could go on with our day after whatever might have pissed us off?
I’m a big believer in the Law of Attraction – like attracts like – so if you think “this is going to be a “one of those days” when even the tiniest thing is not in your favour, then guess what! The Universe is sure to shove more your way.
So you need to turn that bad day around, and pronto. That’s easier said than done, so let me share five simple ways to feel better. Fast.
It’s scientifically proven that body language is linked to our brain, so changing your physiology can create an instant improvement in your mood. Pretty cool, I think. Something as simple as smiling can boost testosterone and decrease cortisol (aka the stress hormone). According to Psychology Today1, your brain “pays attention to what your body is doing, and it affects your emotions”. Remarkably, studies have shown that even faking a smile reduces stress! Check out the studies reported by The Atlantic2 and the Huffington Post3
Amy Cuddy, New York Times bestselling author, writes about this in her book Presence (side note: she is one of my girl crushes). She writes, “Our bodies… don’t just carry us where we want to go: they can help carry us to who we want to be… Where our bodies lead, our minds and emotions will follow”.
If you’re in a mega grump, when ‘there’s nothing worthwhile in my life to smile about’ remember that even forcing it will work. Laugh your woes away, and you’ll be laughing for real in no time. And if you need a helping hand, talk to someone you know makes you laugh, watch funny YouTube videos (#fails always seems to amuse me) or a classic comedy you know will make you smirk. You’ll feel better in no time.
My husband is naturally a pretty chilled person who never seems to get phased or have a bad day like I do (I guess as an ex-marine he has a better perspective on what a bad day is to me). When I asked him what he does if he is feeling in a bad mood, he said: “go to your happy place”. Good advice. Whether that is being in nature and going for a walk, playing with your fur baby, a yoga session or having a little pamper time, know what will make you instantly perk up and go do that!
So, today isn’t going according to plan? But seriously, is Waitrose not having the right gluten-free crackers, the cleaner not doing the bathroom to a hotel shiny standard, or the office printer running out during a big print job enough to warrant writing off the whole day as all-round disastrous? Nah, didn’t think so.
We can all suffer from #firstworldproblems. I found myself sounding off the other day because Sainsburys’ “ripe” avocados were still too hard to eat a few days after I bought them. Then I realised just how ridiculous I was being. Seriously, did my still quite firm avocado really matter?
Be honest. We all know when we are going OTT. We just need to take a step back before kicking off!
My friend and I call each other out for our “#firstworldproblems” because we know when the other is acting like a spoilt brat throwing its toys out the pram. Is it a problem, just a small dent in our otherwise comfortable life? Remembering this makes me realise instantly that my problems aren’t that big after all, and that’s a quick turn-around.
I started ‘practising gratitude’ five years ago after reading Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret (if you haven’t read it already, then you must). It short, it suggests you practice thinking and thanking what you are grateful for. In today’s “must-have” society, it’s easy to lose sight of the wonderful things you have in your life. My happy tip here is about taking time to stop and think about what you should be grateful for. Good health. Career opportunities. Helpful friends. Or even more basic, like running water. When you start this, you realise there is so much to be grateful no matter what is going on in your life. Even though the big setbacks in my life – from deaths in the family, illness, or redundancies – there has always been something to be grateful for.
Practice this one and you’ll soon be putting things into perspective. I was recently at the Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within seminar (check the article out here) and he explained how it is impossible to feel annoyed and grateful at the same time, so this is a sure-fire way to instantly feel better.
I don’t think we compliment each other enough (or ourselves for that matter). Dishing out the compliments will not just put a smile on your recipient’s face, it will make you feel good too. Science shows too how infectious a smile is, so pass the love on. You must have noticed how contagious a smile is too – your “mirror neurons” in your brain will fire and match their smile even if you weren’t originally feeling it (remember tip one).
We’re social creatures. We want to be liked. Giving compliments is one sure way to get people to warm to you and smile back. Friendliness (even if instigated by you) is a sure way to perk you up. It feels good to be nice. So, when you’re having a crap day, spread the love.
Scream! Have a cry… or a rant – you’ll feel better after!
You might not have expected to see this advice, but it works! Sometimes, a good cry or a rant is what you really need to feel better. Releasing emotion lightens the load. Did you know that there are actually chemicals held up in tears that get released when you cry? Better out than in they say.
Letting it out in a controlled and healthy manner is better than storing it up. A quick phone call to a friend, watching a soppy movie, even sharing your woes with the dog will help!
Crying is for the emotionally strong; it’s weak to bottle it up. Medical Daily reports that crying “purges negative energy and allows for new, positive energy to fill us up… Crying is normal and nothing to be ashamed of”. Shedding a few tears releases good endorphins like oxytocin, improving mood and restoring emotional balance according to Heathline)
Do you have your own tried and tested ways to feeling instantly better? If so, I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment below.
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If you are serious about wanting to make life-long changes and positively transform your life, then I would love to hear from you to see how I can support you.
This article is written by Alice Dartnell, life and success coach of Alice Dartnell Limited. Alice empowers busy professionals to be successful, transform their lives and achieve more by improving their confidence, mindset and time management.
For more information please see www.alicedartnell.com.