You know when you're having one. You feel drained of energy, you are grinding your teeth, maybe furrowing your brow... and people -- even strangers -- are avoiding you. And, sometimes, you turn in to bed early just so you can start a new day sooner!! You are having a bad day. We've all had them.
Well, you can do more than just wait for that bad day to end. You can flip it...you can learn strategies to turn it around and end every day feel satisfied with your results.
In her post titled, "The secret to being happy at work -- and loving it", Debra Killalea points out that 'While cool perks ultimately help people enjoy their job, two Australian academics claim loving your job is a skill that can be learnt, even by the most disgruntled worker. Psychology experts Sue Langley and colleague Mel Neil, who have developed a university-recognized diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, say anyone can learn to love their job and be successful if they're prepared to learn how. The course includes elements of positive relationships, positive communication, and setting positive goals.
Being happy at work is definitely learn-able. Just as many of us have learned to be unhappy at work (i.e. viewing work as laborious, difficult, something we 'have to do'), we can like-wise learn to be happy at work (i.e. viewing the work we do as a choice we make, believing we contribute to the organization, believing we matter). And there is no question -- when we are happy at work, we have way more good days than bad -- at work and at home!
Think about these 4 tips to FLIP your bad day around:
Find a quiet space and ... stop. Be mindful of the moment. Be 'present', right there. Shut your eyes and tune into what is happening inside of you, and all around you. Breathe.
Let your thoughts come and go...and notice them as they do. Are they serving you? Is there an opportunity to reframe the day, the experience, the other person, yourself?
Imagine the best day you could possibly have. What is going on during that day? What are you saying to yourself? What are you noticing in others? Perhaps all that you need for a good day is right there in front of you.
Proceed with optimism. Look for what's good in the people you meet, the meetings you attend, the clients you serve and the work you complete. There is a lot to appreciate. Do it...and notice how different you feel.
Daniel Goleman wrote a recent post titled, Identify the Script Behind Your Emotional Hijacks, in which he recommends that you 'keep a log of regrettable angry episodes. Write down just what it was about, how it happened, what set you off, and what did you do that you think you shouldn't have done.
fter you've got 30 or 40 of them, try to see the commonality in the triggers and responses. You'll usually find a particular script that underlies what's causing you to have a particular perception on certain situations, to cast people into roles that they really aren't in, and to try to replay a plot that doesn't really fit.'
That sounds like learning to me! Being mindful, reflecting and re-framing are all elements of any effective personal development process.
As you reflect on how you might FLIP a bad day, consider the wonderful words by Maclean Thiessen of Unklelephant in which his lyrics remind us of the importance of being mindful and seizing the day before us:
Life can be rough it can be tough people can be mean and all that stuff
But in the end it doesn't matter, 'cause we are all just climbing up the ladder
And when we get up to the top and look at all the stuff we got
will we take a moment to see?
In a moment of clarity, like a gift from divinity
Will we see that we're hurting you and me?
Cause it's all gonna end
So lets start to mend
Maclean and I both spoke recently at TEDxManitoba...our talks were different, and yet both spoke to life, death and choices. I was so honored to have been selected to deliver a talk - it was, indeed, a highlight of my life. I was a wee disappointed as my rehearsal was better than my delivery on the day it was recorded (the remote was a little 'sticky'). I persevered...and used lots of the strategies above to FLIP it as it was happening.
People were also very kind, saying things like 'who cares about the remote', 'it's the message that mattered'', and many other wonderful comments that are permanently etched into my mind and soul. I so appreciated their kind words. They really did help me FLIP. My daughter - who was a major part of a story I told that day - is away for the first time alone, travelling in Korea. I am missing her - a maybe a little worried too. She sent this text to me. "Mom, I just watched your TED talk and you were amazing...I was in awe the whole time...good for you for doing this...it took a lot of courage". Wow. When your teenager extends such powerful words, it hits right in the heart-center. That experience reminded me of how important I can be in another person's day. Just as Ali and all the other people at TEDxManitoba helped me to FLIP, a few kind words from me to others might just help them to FLIP too!
I will send the video of the talk once it is ready. I am hoping that you'll find the message meaningful, and will truly 'spread it', as is the spirit of TED.
Until then, I'd love to hear your ideas on how you have flipped a bad day into something better.