THE BLOG

7 Ways to Lift Your Spirits on a Bad Day

11/20/2013 08:40 am ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

We've all had those days where we roll out of bed on the proverbial wrong side as just a glimmer of our normal bright and shiny selves. You know, those days when your fuse is short, you have zero patience for anyone and you just can't seem to shake off the lingering grump. Maybe you didn't get enough sleep, are feeling a little stressed out or perhaps coming down with a cold or flu. Whatever the cause of your funk, don't feel bad -- it happens to the best of us.

In the meantime, you have a full day ahead of you and you'd prefer to stay on good terms with your loved ones by not subjecting them to your foul mood shrapnel. (Thank you very much!) How to turn it around? Try these seven tips to help shift your occasional bad mood to a happier place.

  1. Honor your feelings. Trying to bury the funk or pretend it's not there will only create a pressure cooker-type situation where you are likely to explode later. Instead, allow yourself to feel your emotions without judgement. We all experience a range of feelings in our lives as a normal part of the human experience. Accept that it's totally normal and okay to feel the way you do. Take a few moments to be the observer and just notice.
  2. Vent it out. Use a journal or a good friend's ear to bend as your chance to get it all off your chest. Set a timer for three minutes and just allow yourself to be completely honest about how you are feeling in that moment. Complain away, if it feels right. (And this is coming from someone who is typically pretty positive, but sometimes you just have to let it all out!) The idea is to diffuse all of those yucky feelings by letting them flow out of you. Just be careful not to get sucked even deeper into the abyss of your bad mood, which is why setting a short time limit for this session is a good idea. You want just enough time to get those energy draining emotions out into the open to set them free, but not dwell or intensify them.
  3. Reflect. Your venting session may help you uncover the root causes of your foul mood. Use this as an opportunity to reflect and make adjustments where needed in your life. Spend time nurturing and healing whatever ails you. Maybe you are being hard on yourself for slacking on a project. Get to work. Or, maybe a relationship needs mending. Pick up the phone. Or, perhaps you are just overworked and burnt out. Take a self-care day. Ask yourself what role you've played in getting to your current state and what subtle shifts you can start making right now to bring yourself to a more joyful place.
  4. Be grateful. Nothing turns a bad attitude around faster than counting your blessings. We all have so much to be thankful for, but most of us tend to take our many blessings for granted. It's a precious privilege just to be alive and able to breathe in life and love each new day! Take a few moments to list the top 20 things you are grateful for right now and notice your mood to instantly start to shift. (Bonus: Being grateful for what we have energetically attracts more goodness into our lives.)
  5. Shake things up. Change your physical environment by actually getting up and going outside or into a different room. Try breathing in some fresh air, observing the perfect beauty in nature, people watching, or just noticing the art around you. New scenery helps take the focus off your troubles and bring your mind to a happier place. This is especially true if you can become really present in the moment and keenly aware of the beauty that exists all around you. One friend even told me that something simple like putting on lipstick or a pair of sexy heels can give them the little shift in perception and mood boost they need. Do whatever works for you!
  6. Get moving. Countless studies show exercise produces endorphins and serotonin, which are natural mood lifters. Whether you go for a run, dance around your house, or engage in any other form of movement that makes your soul smile, just do it and get those happy juices flowing. Research has shown that engaging in just 20 minutes of physical activity can produce a noticeable mood lift which can last up to 12 hours. What are you waiting for? Let's dance!
  7. Take care. Slow down and take some deep, focused breaths, which will help you become more grounded and bring your stress levels down. Some other ways to nurture yourself could be: a warm bath, schedule a massage, get some extra rest, cozy up with a good book, or maybe just make some time for yourself to sit and relax with a cup of tea. The point is to honor yourself and your body and practice some good self-care when you need it the most.

We all have good days and bad days as part of the ebb and flow of life. Honor your feelings, listen to your body, take good care of yourself, and you'll be back to happyville in no time. You have so much to be happy about -- we all do. Tap into that goodness and shine!

What about you? What helps lift your spirits up when you're feeling down? Please share with us below. You might just inspire someone else to turn their day around! xo

(P.S. If you enjoyed this post and want more from Dawn Gluskin, check out her weekly Dawnsense blogs and join her inspiring Facebook community.)