5 Ways to Bounce Back From Your Bad Day

No matter how positive of a person you are, there will be days that you wish you could undo.  Whether you mess up on a project at work, end up in a disagreement with someone, or find out your air conditioner went out and will cost a small fortune to fix, some days just feel like bad days.  When it happens, it can be easy to wallow in self-pity or get stuck venting and complaining to anyone who’ll listen. But none of that will turn things around. There are, however, a few behaviors that can help you bounce back every time.

 

  1. Take charge of your thoughts.

It is our thoughts that lead to our feelings, not the other way around. So if you are intentional about noticing what you’re saying to yourself about your circumstances, you can consciously decide whether the thoughts you have are ones you want to keep or ones that need to be replaced. “Things will never change” isn’t the kind of thought that’ll help you bounce back. “What can I do to make sure tomorrow is less stressful?” is an empowering thought – a question that gets you thinking about what is within your control to change.

 

  1. Talk to your funny friend.

Negative emotion is more powerful than positive emotion. In fact, psychologists have discovered that it takes about three positives to undo the effects of negative encounters in our lives. So it’s no wonder it can feel hard to just “snap out of” a bad mood. You have to make intentional choices and activate happiness triggers such as play, anticipation and gratitude to take you to your happy place. This is not the time to hang out with negative people. Call your friend who always makes you laugh. Happiness is contagious.

 

  1. Take a nap.

Sleep is like pressing the reset button. Bad days can zap your energy big time. So listen to your body and give yourself some much-needed rest.  Medical experts advise that the ideal amount of time for a nap is either 25 minutes or 90 minutes. So curl up in a cozy spot with your favorite blanket, set your alarm and take a nap.

 

  1. Go for a brisk walk.

Did you know that just 20 minutes of cardio will boost your mood for up to 24 hours? Get out of your regular environment and get your blood pumping. Whether a walk outdoors or a quick jog on the treadmill, don’t wait to “feel” like moving to get moving. Just do it. You’ll notice a change in how your feel almost immediately.

 

  1. Remember the vision.

The danger of a bad day is that when bombarded with negative events, it can be tempting to “ruminate” on them. Ruminating is when we mull over the same negative thoughts over and over again. Interrupt your ruminating by asking a simple question, “So…where will you go from here?” Look up from your obstacle long enough to see the vision of what’s next.  Today is just one day. Shake it off. Imagine how you want to feel instead. Then take a step that will lead you closer to that feeling.  Joy is a choice, and on some days it’s a harder choice than others. But the choice is still yours.

 

My challenge to you:

Be intentional about bouncing back from bad days. Don’t let the negative emotion drag on any longer than necessary.
Journaling assignment:

What is your vision of how you want to feel and act in the face of a bad day? What will you have to change in order to get there? Which of the five bounce-back behaviors will you practice today?

3 Things Successful Women do Differently

Have you ever seen two women, similar in background and talent, but one excels while the other seems to do just alright? Or maybe you have been one of those women and wondered what the difference was between average results and spectacular ones. On the surface, it doesn’t seem to make much sense, but you only need to dig a little deeper – and listen for the differences in how they speak and think – you’ll find the clues that make all the difference. I am intrigued by the nuances in what successful women do differently. And I’ve spent quite a few years combing through research and interviewing women. There are many differences, but here are the big three:

 

  1. They explain their successes and failures in a distinct and empowering way.

They attribute their successes to personal traits and see them as repeatable. They attribute failure to changeable factors and see them as isolated incidents. This allows them to turn today’s failures into lessons that create future successes while average women will often see failure as a personal flaw. Psychologists call it “explanatory style” and you can pick up on it just by listening to how someone explains a success or a failure. An optimistic explanatory style can predict success and tends to explain successes by attributing to their own efforts, believing it will spill over into similar successes in other areas and that success will keep flowing. A pessimistic explanatory style tends to explain successes in the opposite way – attributing it to luck and outside circumstances and seeing it as an isolated incident that may be hard to pull off again.  Interestingly, those same pessimists explain failure the way optimistic women explain success – believing it is entirely a result of their own personal (failing) traits, that it will spill over into other areas and that it will keep happening.

 

  1. They don’t underestimate themselves.

Research shows women are far more likely to underestimate themselves and their worth. As a result, we are less likely to believe we are ready for opportunities that we are actually qualified for, more likely to take the first salary offered without negotiating for more, and less likely to speak up with our great ideas and opinions. The most successful women recognize that they have far more potential than even they know. So they are willing to risk failure and imperfection in order to go for it. Success is more likely when you adopt what researchers call a “growth mindset,” in which your current success is just a starting point. A “fixed mindset” believes that things such as your talent and intelligence are set. A growth mindset believes that your current talent and intelligence can expand – with effort and intentional learning. You don’t have to be afraid of that opportunity because you don’t have the skills right now. You can learn and grow into potential the opportunity offers.

 

  1. They consider happiness a success strategy.

The most successful women do not fall into the trap of pursuing success because they believe it will make them happy. Instead, they recognize that it is actually happiness that causes success. They pursue what brings them joy, knowing the rewards will follow.  Research actually shows that happier people are more likely to get promotions and raises, take action towards their goals, have stronger relationships, fight illnesses better and even live longer. Start with happiness and success will follow.

 

My challenge to you this week:

Stop underestimating yourself. You are capable of far more than you know.

Journaling assignment:

What would it look like to focus on happiness more than “success” right now? In what way(s) are you underestimating yourself? In your most recent success or failure, did you explain it in a way that empowered you – or did you feel discourage? What change could you make that would empower you to learn and grow from the experience?

All of this and more can be found in my book Successful Women Think Differently .