How to Cope With a Bad Day

Three Parts:Being Kind to YourselfKeeping Yourself BusyMaking Tomorrow Better

Bad days are an inevitable part of life and affect everyone at some point. Bad days can have an obvious reason or they can creep up on you and bother you, even though you can't put your finger on why. You can make it through your bad day if you take care of yourself and distract yourself from the negativity.

Part 1
Being Kind to Yourself

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    Tell yourself that you will be okay. Think of the good things in your life and tell yourself that the bad days are here to appreciate the good ones. Remind yourself that you can move forward from whatever happened that made your day bad. You can do this outloud or in your head.
    • Saying something to yourself like, "I know today is hard, but I will get over this."
    • Say positive things such as "You will be okay. You are brave and strong and can get through this." [1]
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    Have a good cry. Sometimes you just need to cry out your bad day. Go somewhere safe and comfortable, like your bed, and put on a sad song and cry it out. You might be surprised by how much better you feel when you are finished. [2]
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    Treat yourself wisely. It is okay to reward yourself to help you feel better, just as long as you do this carefully. Sometimes the feeling of pleasure after treating yourself only lasts for a minute then it makes you feel worse. So really ask yourself if you will regret it before you eat the dessert or go on a shopping spree or treat yourself to just one cigarette. Instead make your favorite meal or watch your favorite movie to help make yourself feel better. [3]
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    Pamper yourself. Sometimes you just need a warm bath or shower with your favorite scented soap to make yourself feel better. Afterwards put on your favorite lotions, dry your hair and put on your favorite pajamas. [4]
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    Write out your feelings. A journal entry about your day and all your frustrations and feelings can help you feel better. Get paper and a pen out or your computer and write out your frustrations. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or if it even makes any sense. Just write exactly what comes to mind. [5]
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    Go to sleep. Sometimes a good night’s rest is exactly what you need to cope with your bad day. As silly as it sounds things will probably feel a lot better in the morning. Go to bed early and sleep away your bad day. If you don’t get enough sleep it might make your bad day even worse and extend for longer. [6]

Part 2
Keeping Yourself Busy

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    Distract yourself with a task. Do something distracting from whatever is making you have a bad day. Focus on an activity or task that does not require room for your thoughts to wander. Tackle reorganizing your closet or finally cleaning out the garage. You will feel proud of yourself when you are finished and will have forgotten about your bad day in the process. [7]
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    Exercise to boost your mood. Exercising, especially outside where there is fresh air, is a great way to improve your mood. The exercise will release good brain chemicals that can help your bad mood. It also reduces immune system chemicals that can make you feel sadder and increases your body temperature to calm you down. [8] You will feel proud of yourself when you are done with your work out. Don’t do an exercise that gives your mind time to wander though, like a walk. Do something that is going to keep you busy and distracted from the situation. [9]
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    Do something with other people. Staying social will keep your mind off of your bad day and will cheer you up. Hang out with your best friends or your family and do your favorite activities or go to your favorite restaurant. Turn your bad day around by filling it with fun with your friends or family. Talk to your friends, family, or someone you can trust about what is upsetting you. Venting will help you get over what is making you upset. [10]
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    Focus on a better aspect of your life. Remind yourself what you do have that is going well for you. Tell yourself “At least I…” about the good things in your life. Things could always be worse. The problems at work that are bringing you down are not your whole life; you still have great family outside of work. Your relationship ending is not the end of the world. At least you still have a great career and amazing friends. [11]
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    Expose yourself to positive media. If your day is already bad, turning on the news and hearing about tragedy around the world is not going to help. Watching a sad movie or listening to sad music is not going to distract you from what is wrong. Watch your favorite comedy or listen to upbeat and happy music about how you can conquer the world. [12]

Part 3
Making Tomorrow Better

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    Reflect on your bad day. Think about what happened that made your day so bad. Take a second to analyze why things went bad and appreciate what went right. Try to figure out what you can change to make tomorrow a better day. Don’t punish yourself, but direct yourself to help improve your day tomorrow. [13]
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    Take a few minutes to meditate. Clear your mind of your negative thoughts by isolating yourself from anyone and any distractions. When a new thought enters your mind, think of yourself setting it free. Getting to a state of mindfulness takes practice, but meditating can really help clear your mind. [14]
    • Try guided meditation tapes to help you. These are especially helpful if you are a beginner.
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    Plan your day tomorrow. Take a second at the end of the day to think about your day tomorrow. Make a list of what you need to do and how you are going to accomplish your list. This will help focus your mind and keep tomorrow from turning chaotic. Tomorrow will be a better day if you layout tasks to accomplish and achieve them. Plan when you are going to take breaks from getting things done to relax. Tomorrow won’t be a good day if you work too hard either. [15]
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    Set your alarm for earlier than normal. Start tomorrow off on the right foot by setting your alarm earlier than normal. Not too early though, you still need a good rest. You don’t want to start tomorrow rushing out the door, forgetting half the things you need and being late. Get up early so you can relax while you get ready, eat a healthy breakfast, and accomplish everything you need to accomplish in the morning. [16]
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    Try to have a better day. Having a better state of mind will help you have a better day. Try to be in a good mood and not let the little things get you down. You will be surprised how trying to have a better day can actually make you have a better day. [17]


  • Remind yourself that tomorrow will be a better day.
  • Make sure you are taking care of your mental health.
  • Recruit friends or family to help you feel better.

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Managing Negative Feelings