5 ways to have a better day than the one you’re having now

Give a bad day a makeover
By Suzan Colón  Published on 09/20/2018 at 12:00 PM EDT
Suzan Colón

You wake up wondering what the new day will bring you (or maybe you’re just optimistic about coffee), and then the day starts off badly. No coffee. And it gets worse: late for work. Boss on a rampage. Car trouble. Kid trouble. Partner trouble. Pet trouble. Trouble trouble. And you wish you could start your day all over again.

So go ahead. Yes, you can totally restart your day.

The concept of a day do-over is an exercise in reframing. Technically, it’s still whatever day it is, and time is only moving forward. We may not even be able to escape the circumstances, like work or a series of uncomfortable events, that are vexing us.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t use the power of your beautiful mind to reframe a nerve-testing day. It’s not going to affect Greenwich Mean Time or the stock market if you need a do-over at four in the afternoon. And restarting your day is so much cheaper than the other option, leaving the country.

Here are a few ways I’ve learned to reboot a bad day:

Instant reboot: Do this when you’re seated so you don’t lose your balance. Tip your head back as if you’re going to look at the ceiling, but close your eyes as you do so. Then bring your head back to face forward and slowly open your eyes. It’s like pressing a refresh button for your brain. It seems to interrupt your thoughts, so it’s particularly effective if you’re having an “I can’t stand this moment” thought. I wish I could remember where I heard this tip, but it was from a long pre-internet time ago. I can’t say that there’s any science behind it, but the mere suggestion that it could work has meant it always works for me. I’m very suggestible, but if you’re not, moving on…

Breathing reboot:Doing a few rounds of Deergha Swasam, Yoga’s Three-Part breathing exercise, is designed to help you calm down. I sometimes reframe it as taking a day refresher: By the time I’m done with three rounds, I’ve exhaled all the bad juju that happened before, and I’m breathing in the fresh air of a brand-new day. Ahhhhh….

Breakfast reboot: If you need a more tangible way to convince yourself that your day is starting over, have breakfast again. I’ve gone through days where I had breakfast for lunch, and another breakfast for dinner if the hits kept coming. Pancakes and vegan sausage for dinner is a great day reboot, and, if nothing else, breakfast is the only meal of the day that can’t be screwed up.

Walking reboot: Move a muscle, change a thought—another spiritual saying that actually works. Exercise boosts your endorphins, and the power of suggestion will boost your mood. So when your blood is boiling, get it moving instead by taking a walk. Tell yourself that you’re stepping out of your old, icky day and into a fresh new one, moving forward into something better.

Action reboot: When I’m having a day from hell, I take a break to draw a cartoon about how crappy I feel. This is usually a very bad and ugly drawing, which makes me laugh, and I feel better. When I’m not in the mood to draw, I knit, and there is nothing legal that undoes a bad mood faster than knitting or crocheting or working with some kind of soft material. Except for baking bread—you get to punch the dough! And the more you maul it the flakier the crust gets, and you work out your bad feels and the house smells of delicious baking bread (ancient aromatherapy). Working with your hands has been proven to boost mood and brain power.

On a bad day, hopefully you’ll only need to use one or two of these. But if you’re having a particularly heinous 24, don’t worry; you can reset as often as you need to until 11:59 pm, when you’ll automatically get a fresh, new, hopefully better day.

Suzan Colón is the author of Yoga Mind: Journey Beyond the Physical, 30 Days to Enhance Your Practice and Revolutionize Your Life From the Inside Out.

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