July 09, 2014

5 ways to turn a bad day into an okay one

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Greetings from Murphy's Law


You are having what we call a bad day. You forgot your umbrella in a rainstorm, you missed the train by 30 seconds, you spilled your coffee all over your shirt. Hello everyone, I'd like to introduce you to what my Irish mother calls "Murphy's Law". Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Oh, and on top of that, you have to go to work and be chipper. Awesome.

Hang in there, champ.


Despite our best efforts to make life easy and simple, it's not. I've used my 2.7 decades of knowledge to compile a list on how to get you through your bad day while still being nice and exemplifying the person your Mom thinks you are.

1. Force yourself to smile


A smile is something unambiguous in all languages. It communicates happiness and joy, something you don't have on a bad day. However, forcing yourself to smile does, in fact, decrease your stress thereby making you happier. Am I saying to walk around the office with a force smile until your jaw tenses up? No, you absolute weirdo! But take some time at your desk and grin at your computer. No one has to see it. Next time you're in the bathroom, smile at yourself in the mirror. It sounds ludicrous, and it is, but it works! Science says so.

2. Repeat "Today will be a good day"


Yogis have been all over this practice for centuries. Repeating a mantra out loud will convince your brain this phrase holds truth. In fancy terminology a mantra "conveys a directive into our sub-consciousness." Repeat the phrase or mantra while you're walking into the office. Say it three times quickly before you get on a conference call. While standing at the water cooler, mutter it under your breath. Again, this is something for you, not anyone else, so shouting it from the top of your desk is not required.

3. Step outside


Sometimes we all need a little fresh air to realign ourselves. Allow yourself to take a quick walk outside and breath in a little fresh O2. You'd be surprised at how a few moments to yourself can calm you and give you the strength and energy to continue through the day.




At Contactually, we know the importance of getting outside.

4. Find something nice to say


The above recommendations are for when you're by yourself. But what if you have to entertain customers or guests? Or be around people? My recommendation here, which I snagged from Dale Caregnie's classic "How to Win Friends and Influence People", is to find something nice to say about the person with whom you are speaking with. It could be anything about the person, just make sure it's genuine. Maybe you like their shoes, their southern accent or how eloquently they spoke about a particular topic. Doesn't have to be fancy, just has to be genuine. Why? Because making someone else feel good will in turn make you feel good too. It's just how us humans work.

AND IF ALL ELSE FAILS...

5. Look at a ton of pictures of cute puppies


... or watch a few minutes of your favorite comedian. Or scroll through pictures of an awesome vacation you took. Do something that will force you brain to shift gears and enjoy the wonders of life for a moment.

And just remember the wise words of Kelly Clarkson circa 2011 -- "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger". Tomorrow will be another day, hopefully filled with lots of sunshine, spill proof coffee mugs, and zero traffic.