We’ve all heard the usual tips and advice for getting through a bad day at work – deep breaths, mindfulness and taking a quick walk around the block. However, there are some days at work where no amount of deep breaths are going to calm you. We all have these days and they are a completely normal part of our working lives, but how can you make the day better when instead of deep breathing, you just want to scream and go home?
We all strive to work in a happy and positive workplace, but life is full of frustrations. An argument with your partner in the morning, a late train or even just a spilt coffee can be enough to transform a good day into a bad one, but knowing how you can change your mood and stop annoyances from dragging your mood down further is a huge thing which can completely transform your day.
The good news is that you can turn a bad day into a good one, remember happiness is mainly a choice. Even if something negative happens, it is important to focus on the positive things which are also happening – studies have shown that when you’re thinking positively, you’re 31% more productive. So, how can you transform a bad day at work?
Change the story
Once you’ve seen a day as being a “bad day”, then your cognitive bias will naturally kick in and will then leave you seeking out other negative things. Before you know it, you’re involved in a snowball of mistakes, mishaps and miscommunication which can quickly become overwhelming.
Change the path of your day from “this is a bad day” and look into how you are really feeling. Is there something which has triggered feelings of self-doubt, or are you reflecting on your environment at the moment? Once you have isolated these feelings and named them, you can then help your bad thoughts from infecting the rest of your day. Having concrete and solid reasons for your unhappiness will give you something to work on in the future.
Another way that you can stop yourself from thinking negatively is to take single actions. Send an email which you have been meaning to do, or make a phone call which you have been putting off. Small things, such as going out for your dinner or even choosing a healthier snack, such as a piece of fruit over a chocolate bar, can create a highly positive mental avalanche for the rest of the day.
Your brain records and focuses on victories and this effect is even stronger if the actions you choose to take benefits another person. Whilst you might be buried in the depths of your inbox, if you take two minutes to send an email thanking or praising a coworker, then you’ll notice that your mood improves and you can focus on other tasks.
Confide in a friend
On those days where nothing seems to budge your mood, you may need to call in reinforcements. You will likely already know what will make you feel better and if that is confiding in a close friend or coworker, then go for it. You need to confide in someone who will let you vent and listen or provide support and help you to find solutions, rather than pick holes in your feelings and make you feel worse.
You could ask a coworker to go on a lunchtime walk with you, as this can help to improve your mood. Being out in the fresh air and away from the office, if that is where your annoyances lie, can help you to feel less on edge and focused for the afternoon ahead. Turn to those people who make you feel better and let them know that you need some support and help.
Over time, learning how to respond to bad things or negative thoughts means that you can figure out a way to control them. You will have a bad day if that is all you are focused on but once you change your perspective or accept the situation, you will realise that you have control over your feelings and emotions. Sure, you can wallow in your feelings for a while, but this isn’t fun and can lead to more negative feelings. Remember, we all have bad days at work, but it is up to us to decide how this continues to affect us.
There are things you can do every day to help minimise future concerns and lessen bad days at work, such as eating a balanced diet, exercise regularly and take vitamins such as probiotic supplements to ensure your health is in top form. If your body is healthy, then your mind will be too. Keep things in your desk at work to help when a bad day strikes, such as headphones to refocus and think clearly without distractions, a stress ball to preoccupy your mind whilst on a call or even a scented candle or succulent to keep your mind at ease throughout the day.
Natalie Wilson is a freelance health and wellness writer. She loves researching and writing about new health trends and topics, as well as keeping up to date with the latest health news. When not writing, you can find her taking long walks in the countryside with her dog or browsing her nearest bookstore. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.