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Have you ever had one of those days?
Of course, we all have. It’s one of those lovely little symptoms of being a human being.
Whether some little thing of your wake-up routine goes awry or you got up on the wrong side of the bed, and from then a million other little things are off, one after another—it’s a damn domino effect.
Imagine you wake up late, jump out of bed in a panicked rush, drop your toothbrush, can’t sip your trusty go-to beverage to quench your morning thirst, burn your breakfast, can’t find the shirt you thought was clean, and walk out the door in a fluster. Then drop your keys as you’re trying to open your car door. Of course, they land just enough under the driver’s side door so you must kneel to the ground and stretch your arm under enough to reach them.
Ugh, it’s gonna be one of those days.
It’s been a few years since I’ve experienced that specific instance—I no longer own a vehicle—but I still have days that are just off. Whether the hot water went out when I needed to shower or an electronic device decides to be temperamental, it’s out of my control and can make me feel I have no control.
It’s easy to lean into the negativity of expecting something to go wrong at every turn that I make it happen out of fearing it happening.
Before I know it, I’ve snowballed the moments of my day into a day I wished I wasn’t living, and I can’t go back to bed to restart this out-of-sync day.
After realizing this tendency of mine, I wanted to make a change. I wanted to notice good moments that happen every day and feel that every day is worth living. This isn’t always the easiest thing for me to do when I’m all caught up in a moment of this went wrong and such and such shouldn’t have happened, and then naturally, something else goes wrong so I feel more out of whack.
I read about what techniques may help. I did some research and tweaked stuff to fit me personally. Even though sometimes I slip back into old habits—it happens, and I don’t beat myself up for it—these three things help me when I’m having one of those days.
Three things that help me when I’m having one of those days:
1. My meditative moments.
While studying child development and education, I learned a behavior management technique about providing a transition time to move youngsters from one activity to another. For example, you have five minutes to finish then it’s time for lunch. (It’s also a good way to introduce learning to tell time.) I figured if it helps kids, it could help adults too. Meditative moments is my adult version of that.
When I’m switching gears, I take a few minutes to slow down—or stop—and be aware of my breath. Sometimes it’s as simple and mindless as taking a couple deep breaths while walking into a public place. Sometimes I stop for several minutes, take deep breaths, and notice details of my surroundings. The color of the trees, the pictures on the wall, the sounds that are happening around me; being outside works best for me because for me it’s meditative.
Taking these meditative moments helps me reset, recenter, and be present. Among other advantages of being present, I’m less likely to drop my keys.
2. Enjoy the little things.
The little random things that happen during a day—seeing a hummingbird stick its beak into a flower, hearing someone laugh—instinctually bring a smile to my face. I notice and value all those little moments. Or, shall I say, do my best to notice as many as possible.
Anyone laughing will do it, but there’s something about a baby’s laugh that makes me all gooey inside that I am instantly happy and smiling and laughing too. It’s a baby’s superpower.
If I’m having a bad day, taking the time to appreciate little things helps turn it around. Taking advantage of enjoying so many little things in a day, for me, makes for a good day.
No matter how bad a day seems, there is something about every day to smile about, if I just let it.
Maybe I spied a baby dragon fly and paused a moment to say hi.
3. Give in and accept it.
It’s the image of throwing my arms in the air, giving up, and saying, “I’m done.”
At this point, I also take a step back, take a breath, and become okay with it just being one of those days. I’ve noticed if I stop getting frustrated at every little thing that goes wrong, my day will eventually self-correct. I give myself permission to ride the wave of the moments that make up my life because I don’t have control of everything. I can control my reaction to the moments.
Going with the flow, being flexible, accepting what is is, whether I like it or not, is a mindset I consider a strength. In simply accepting this’s and that’s it diminishes the effect and leaves me to more easily redirect my attention to happier things.
Remembering to use these skills is a continual practice. It can be easy for me to get caught up in the moment so that my emotions lead my actions. Sometimes I look back at a day and wonder why I let something uncontrollable have such an impact. Instead of beating myself up for not using one of these tips, I tell myself I’ll try again next time, and move on. After all, I’ve had enough bad days to know I have the strength to survive whatever is thrown at me.
I’m always willing to try new skills. I can never have too many options because what works one day may not on another. Comment something you do so you can wholeheartedly say, “It’s been a good day!”