The Instant Way to Turn Around a Bad Day
Hit the restart button on a bad day, your career, a friendship, workout, or even a vacation. These expert tips make it simple.
Coming back to a workout routine after you’ve been away for a while is always the hardest part. People often focus on what they can’t do, so I encourage them to take it one day at a time. I ask new clients about their lifestyle and what they’re afraid of. Most people think they’re in worse shape than they actually are. But if you break down a big goal into small increments—something as simple as doing one good squat—achieving it is not scary at all. —Joe Grillo is a Personal Training Director at LA Fitness in Lexington, Kentucky.
Our impulsive culture promotes living your truth as quickly as possible. But before you jump into a new career, take a practice jump. If you’re an accountant who has always wanted to start a bakery, for example, you can do a lot before you quit your day job: You can watch instructional videos online, spend your evenings in pastry classes, shadow a local baker on the weekends. You’ll get a sense of the highs and lows and learn the nitty-gritty that you don’t see on social media. If the new lifestyle feels good, then you’ll know you’re ready to take the next step. —Mike Lewis is the Author of When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn’t the Life You Want. He Lives in San Francisco.
We do things all the time to irritate our loved ones (usually not on purpose), and sometimes that can lead to a break. What matters is how we repair the situation. If you’re the one who dropped the ball, reach out: “It’s been so long. I feel like the break was my fault, and I’d like to repair it.” Or simply say, “I apologize.” (Don’t say, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” which is not a true apology.) If you feel you’ve been wronged, say, “I miss you; I want to see you.” Meet in a public place, with clear time boundaries, and make the choice to forgive the other person. Be calm; if things get heated, just say, “Let’s come back to this another time.” Remember that you have control of only one thing: how you act. —Kirsten Lind Seal, PhD, is a marriage and family therapist.
Once, when we arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, what we thought was our “official” taxi (it wasn’t!) dropped us off at a probably illegal hotel with a name very similar to that of the one I’d booked. There we were, in a dump, exhausted and saddled with these big backpacks. We left the hotel and walked around the city so we could put things in perspective. We got out the map and found the right hotel—we even stumbled across a vibrant night market along the way. If your vacation doesn’t start out right, stay calm, take back control, and figure out a new game plan. You can do this by seeking out a safe, neutral location of your own choosing (say, a cute coffee shop with Wi-Fi) and mapping out the next few steps needed to get back on track. —Kelly Lack is a writer and travel-industry consultant in San Francisco.
Take two minutes to write a very brief, positive email to someone you know: a thank-you, a compliment, or an expression of deep appreciation. It works, for one, because your mind simply can’t be in two places at once: You can’t be unhappy and stressed if you’re thinking about how grateful you are. When you go back to your bad day, your brain has one more positive piece of information about your life, and you won’t feel the same slump. Plus, we know that the greatest predictor of long-term happiness is social connection, and you’ve just spent two minutes thinking, “Whoa, look at this person who cares about me and has contributed to my life in a meaningful way.” —Michelle Gielan is the author of Broadcasting Happiness. She Lives in Dallas.