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10 simple ways to turn a bad day around

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” –Aristotle

We all have bad days—those days when everything seems to go wrong. Even when we strive to live mindfully and cherish the gift that is today, sometimes life has other ideas, and everything turns upside down and sideways.

It’s easy to give in to the negativity. But when we do, our bad day often becomes worse. It doesn’t have to be that way. What if we could turn our bad day good again?

Here are 10 simple ways to cheer up next time you find yourself stuck in a bad day:

1. Listen to your favorite song—and crank up the volume! Have you ever noticed that listening to your favorite music offers an instant mood boost? Even science says that music is therapeutic, so try it next time you’re grumpy.

2. Pet your favorite animal. Cuddling your cat or dog calms you down, lowers blood pressure, alleviates loneliness and releases “feel good” endorphins. Here’s a closer look at six important ways pets improve our health.

3. Practice gratitude. Yes, today is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. But even when things go wrong, we can usually single out a few things that are also going right. Take a moment to remember the good and jot them down in your journal. If you feel better following this exercise, try to make it a regular habit. According to the research, being thankful is good for your health.

4. Take your dog for a walk. Get those endorphins flowing! These hormones help us to feel good, so when you’re feeling blue, do what you can to get a boost naturally. Make your walk even better by connecting with nature at the same time. (Read more in my article about the awesome power of “forest bathing.”)

5. Take a few minutes to meditate. Just last month, Time magazine took a closer look at why meditating makes us feel better. The good news is that even just 10 minutes helps. Find a quiet place, turn off your phone and really connect with your breathing. Here’s a guided meditation to try today:

6. Carve out some “me” time. You know yourself best, so do a little something to make you happy. If you’re stuck, here are a few ideas to try:

  1. Take a few minutes to read your favorite book or magazine.

  2. Get your favorite drink at Starbucks.

  3. Walk to your favorite café for a treat.

  4. Book a lunchtime foot massage.

  5. Take a walk on the beach or on your favorite trail.

  6. Watch your favorite TV show.

  7. Buy yourself flowers.

7. Read the quotes you find uplifting. I love to read my favorite quotes—the ones that inspire me, that help me to see the world in a new way, and that remind me to be grateful. Here are a few of my favorites, from Thich Nhat Hanh and Wayne Dyer.

8. Chocolate!! The darker, the better. Surely you don’t need additional convincing, but in case you do, there is research out there that says dark chocolate enhances mood. And here’s a list of the 10 best vegan dark chocolate bars.

9. Do an act of kindness for another person, or an animal. Smile, hold the door open, let someone else go in front of you at the grocery store, send a nice email thanking a friend or loved one for their help—these are all easy ways to show compassion and kindness. Helping others not only takes your mind off your problems, but also strengthens your mental well-being. For some fun ideas to try, here are 10 acts of kindness for animals and 25 ways to help a fellow human being today.

10. Avoid reading or watching negative news. Want to turn a good mood sour? Or make your bad day even worse? Turn on the news and be reminded of all the pain and suffering happening right now in our world. These things do matter, but not in this moment. Try Holy Cuteness or funny cat videos instead! (This study found that watching cat videos helps you feel more positive, because obviously.) Here’s a little Maru to brighten your day:

What are your best tips for turning a bad day good again?

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