You know those days when nothing seems to be going right? You’re late for work, you get a flat tire, an appliance breaks, etc.
It’s easy to let those setbacks dictate the tone of the rest of our day. It’s easy to feel like every unplanned and undesirable thing that happens is happening to you and suddenly you are spiraling down a spiral of negative self-talk, finger pointing, and victimization. In short, the day is ruined.
But what if it doesn’t have to be? What if you actually had the choice whether to indulge in self-defeating thought patterns or not? Surprisingly enough, you do. At any point during any day you are free to start your day again.
Attitude is everything
When something negative happens in my day, I have two options. I can either let it bring me down or I can choose a more positive path. Granted, this may take an extra step or two, but ultimately I can make the decision to move on and choose happiness.
Imagine a scenario where you are late to work. You can go through a myriad of unproductive thoughts such as “I can’t believe I’m so lazy,” “I never do anything right,” or “I would get to work on time if I didn’t have to be in so early” that will leave you feeling either worthless or resentful, or you can decide to check your attitude.
Instead of perfecting the art of self-deprecation and throwing blame, try changing your perspective. Cut yourself some slack, think about ways to prevent this in the future, and move on. Maybe try setting your alarm clock a little earlier to give yourself extra time in the morning. Simply acknowledge that you’re late and make the choice to not let it affect the rest of your day.
One of the best ways to turn your mood around after a setback is the concept of gratitude.
It’s not always easy to make the decision to have a good day after something negative happens. Practicing gratitude is something that may help your process.
Let’s stick with the being late example. You may feel that your whole day is ruined after having such a rough start, but take some time to think about what there is to be grateful for. The fact that you have a job at all is a big one. You are employed, you are making money to be able to support yourself or contribute to a household, and you are a productive member of society.
Think about the bigger picture and what you have to be grateful for. Like starting your day over, gratitude can be practiced at any point. The next time something threatens to ruin your day, think about your attitude and your gratitude.
I want to emphasize that it’s ok if one of these daily setbacks brings up negative thoughts or feelings. Take time to feel your emotions, but then decide what you’re going to do with them. I’m not advocating for a complete denial of anything that doesn’t resemble happiness since every feeling and emotion is important, but after you acknowledge those feelings, make the choice of what to do from there.
Remember, you can always start again.
Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud.
- Have you ever started your day over?
- Do you let negative situations impact your mood for a long time?