How to turn a bad day into a good one

Photo by Jungwoo Hong on

Photo by Jungwoo Hong on

The experts day you can talk a bad day into a good one. Good news! But how?

It’s your choice
Having a good day could be put down to a simple choice you make. According to happiness researchers, you can choose to be happy. How? By choosing your mindset and focusing on something objectively rather than subjectively, is a good start. Focusing on the positive things that are happening is also important.

You can’t have a good day with a bad attitude, and
you can’t have a bad day with a good attitude.
~ Unknown

When you’re positive:

  • you’re 31% more productive
  • you’re 40% more likely to receive a promotion
  • you have 23% fewer health-related effects from stress, and
  • your creativity rates triple
    (Achor quoted in Gall0, 2015)

It is worth changing your mood to a positive one because “misery loves company”. Bad news and negative emotions can spread easily. Changing to a positive mindset not only makes a better day for you but for those around you as well.

Be proactive
Self awareness is key here. It is suggested you need to “check in” with yourself, to monitor your mood and catch a bad mood early. Do you know the usual signs for yourself? Is it that you are snappy with others? Is it that you make snide remarks? Have you stopped smiling as much as usual? Do you have a headache? 

Being able to recognise and name your mood and its cause is a significant step towards proactively managing your mood. Disclosures like “I am <name the mood eg upset/angry/disappointed> because I <insert reason eg slept badly/am behind on my project>. It is suggested that having a concrete cause and effect identified, gives you something to work on.

Take moments to be grateful
One of the ways to focus on the positive it to express you gratitude for something. It can be something at home, at work or at in leisure activities. Being down and expressing gratitude are incompatible states. By focusing on what you are grateful for, is a “powerful antidote to the urgent feeling of stress and lack of control” (McKee quoted in Gallo, 2015).  Focusing on what you are grateful for can help short-circuit a bad mood. It means looking for the things that are working and taking a solution focus.

Call to action
Establish some action items that will have a positive outcome when complete. This could be:

  • completing a task that has been nagging you
  • starting a new routine that you have been promising yourself to do
  • acknowledging someone’s effort or impact on you

These all give a feeling of success. Your brain likes success. The effect is even better if the effect is to benefit someone else.


Change something
Sometimes changing your environment helps to change your mood. Taking a walk outside, getting some air out there can energise and help you press your own “reset” button. Spending some time in a green space can have a calming effect. Exercise also promotes the release of endorphins that can help elevate your mood. Sometimes even just taking some deep breaths can help to relax you.

A day is a day. It’s just a measurement of time. Whether it’s a good day or a bad day is up to you. It’s all a matter of perception.
~ Donald L. Hicks

Have realistic expectations
Realistic expectations means there is a lesser likelihood of them resulting in disappointment. If you are falling behind in your work, you may need to recallibrate your expectations. It comes back to the success outcome that will ultimately lead to more efficiency and productivity.

Reflect and learn
Reflecting on your day and the things that worked well and those that didn’t is important to your own development. Mood mastery is closely associated with your own awareness and the learning that comes from it. Being honest with yourself is critical to this being effective of course. That means recognising triggers and causes for mood changes then acting to either avoid or manage them. Easily said I know. But with practice, it is achievable. If you can’t get the perspective you need on your own – call on reinforcements. Ask a trusted friend, a mentor or a coach to give you their assessment of your situation, then work together to make a plan to get to turn your mood around.

Do you have strategies that work for you to manage your moods? Would you share them with us here?

Gallo, Amy. 2015. “How to turn a bad day around” in Harvard Business Review. 16 October 2015.

Share your comments here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: