There are bad days, and then there are really, really bad days. We all know that life isn’t perfect, bad days are a part of life, just because you have one bad day doesn’t mean that mean it will last forever, and all that other motivational speak. Stress management is something we all do at some level, and everyone deals with bad days differently. Some of us like to call a friend, party it out or grab a drink. Others prefer a relaxing bath, watching some TV or listening to music. But on those horrible, terrible days, it feels like nothing in the world can make things better.
Sometimes, it’s all about being present moment, noticing how you feel instead of dealing with them through food, substances or reckless behavior. This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is the art of deliberately practicing awareness in a particular method. It’s all about directing your attention to the present moment and simply observing what is happening, without any judgement. Mindfulness is a deceptively powerful meditation technique that helps us come back to the present instead of stressing over the past and worrying about the future. Practicing mindfulness techniques on a regular basis will help you to refocus your energy and reduce negative thinking patterns.
Try out these three simple mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques that will help you to get out of those horrible days:
1. Plan out future scenarios
Sometimes, you’re in the situation because of an easily avoidable mistake that you brought upon yourself. When this occurs, we tend to be even more harder on ourselves for something that could have been easily prevented. If you find yourself in one of those scenarios, be gentle on yourself when you acknowledge what went wrong. Constructively channel your negative emotions into planning ahead for the potential outcomes that can occur from certain scenarios. Then make a list of possible actions you could take for various potentialities. This will make you feel confident in recognizing which outcomes you do have control over, and feel greater acceptance over outcomes you have no control over.
For an extra boost of motivation to help you bounce back from tough times, watch this video below by one of India’s top Motivational Speakers, Priya Kumar.
2. Write a Gratitude List
Even when you feel like life is out to get you, there are always numerous things that we can be grateful for. It can be as simple as being thankful for be able to breathe. While this can be exasperating to think about when you’re down in the dumps, the adage stands true: things could always be worse. No matter where you are in life, there is someone who wishes they had the things, opportunities or circumstances that you currently have. When you feel gratitude, it can help shift your despair into self-empowerment to overcome any obstacle life throws at you.
Listen to why Carlos Marin doesn’t underestimate the power of gratitude in day-to-day life.
3. Reframe your situation
This is probably one of the most powerful mindfulness techniques for stress management. Reframing is a technique which helps us to look at things differently and develop a new story about what is happening. For example, you might have rushed against time to make it to the airport for your flight, but you end up missing it by a few minutes. The typical reaction for most of us is to spiral out into frustration, anger, and despair with thoughts like “Why did this have to happen to me?”, “I always mess things up somehow”, or “Nothing ever goes my way”.
To use a reframe, simply stop for a moment and breathe, then look at the opportunity that has arisen from the situation that externally appears negative. In the above example of missing your flight, you now have a lot of time before the next flight. This means you can catch up on pending work, watch those TV shows you’ve been dying to see, or simply relax and do some self-reflection.
Arfeen Khan has some great tips on changing one’s state of being:
Remember, check out Instructions for a Bad Day when things really hit the ceiling.