03/07/2016 11:30 am ET Updated Mar 08, 2017

How to Fix a Sucky Day

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Don't you just hate that?

Having one of 'those' days. The ones that suck, for no apparent reason.

You know the sort. You get showered and dressed for work, and then spill coffee down your front and have to change.

The dog heads for the door heaving, but the door isn't opened in time. So there's mess to address... on the carpet.

You finally get everyone into the car and start backing down the driveway when one of the kids remembers that they've left some critical item inside. Gahhh!

Is it too much to ask to just have things run smoothly? You try to shake it off, and think that the day can only improve from here.

But by lunch time it's clear. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

All you can do is hang in there and ride it out. Or can you?

What if there was a simple tool to deal with sucky days?

Something you could use to reduce the suckiness, and move on. Or maybe even turn the situation around.

That would help.

I think so too, and I love this simple strategy for dealing with sucky days.

Reframe It and Move On

Reframing is a slightly technical term, but it means looking for the silver lining in the clouds, or finding the opportunities behind the challenges.

I don't mean paste a smile on your face and try to convince yourself everything is rosy. That doesn't work.

I mean, set aside the negative aspects of what's happened and try to find positives - or possible positives.

Here are a few examples:

  1. A friend of ours recently had a minor car crash, and the insurance company wrote the car off. But he could reframe this as an opportunity to upgrade the vehicle (which he did, and he got a great deal).
  2. If you get a bad mid-year review from your manager, you can see it as a real kick in the teeth. And it is, but you can still reframe it as an opportunity to prove your manager wrong, and show them what a fabulous employee you are.
  3. If you find yourself continually arguing with one of your kids, you can think of them as difficult and hard to live with. Or you can reframe it as an opportunity to learn some new communication strategies to turn your relationship around.
It's not that you shouldn't allow yourself to feel bad. It's OK to do that when things go wrong. In fact, I encourage you to work through the lows of life, and get them out of your system.

But if you only focus on the negative side of a situation, you're actually making it worse.

And research has shown that the ability to adopt a positive outlook aids the healing process, and promotes good mental health.

Reframing is a simple but powerful tool. But you know that simple isn't always easy.

Sometimes it takes practice, particularly if you want to really feel the power of a tool when you need it.

So start reframing today. Even if it's not officially a sucky day, you'll come across challenges.

Try reframing them as opportunities, and pretty soon the skill will come naturally.

You'll be a whole lot more optimistic about life (while still being realistic). And you might even create more optimism in your family.

What have you got to lose?

Maybe just a few sucky days. And you can certainly do with less of those.