Bad moments. They happen to all of us, usually every day.
We can run or we can rise.
We can dwell or we can deal.
I saw this (and I use the term loosely) inspirational quote this morning:
Did you have a bad day? Or did you have a bad 5 minutes and milk it all day?
Oh it’s so easy to fall into that trap!
One little hitch in the morning routine, and the day is ruined.
You say “good morning” and someone ignores you. And you ruminate on whether they are mad at you.
Scientifically, it’s called the negativity bias because we only see what’s wrong.
I like to add in a pinch of confirmation bias, because once we start down the path of “It’s a bad day” all we do is look for confirmation of that “fact”.
So if negativity bias and confirmation bias are hard-wired into our human brain (for survival reasons), what can we do to win this war?
Bad Day: The Gratitude Gun
Pulling from last weeks post on Gratitude, it’s one of the reasons I wanted to cultivate the habit in the first place.
All the time.
How do we not let it get to us?
By being thankful for the things that do go well. Maybe I didn’t get out of the house without a hitch this morning, but I did every other morning this week. I’m grateful for that. I think hindsight gratitude works just as well as in-the-moment gratitude when you’re learning!
If we make it a habit to be grateful for the little things, that confirmation bias starts to work for us in the positive direction.
Bad Day: The Attitude Ammo
If gratitude can become a habit, so can a positive attitude.
My team has a catch-phrase that says we are “an oasis of positivity and excellence…in all we do”.
You know what is hard to do?
Be grumpy on a team that is known for its positivity.
Here are some tips from an Operation Meditation article:
- Get Moving – exercise helps you feel better, look better and have a more positive attitude
- Plan Ahead – Success and accomplishment both breed positivity, so set yourself up for those successes by planning ahead.
- Meditate – Most of our negative thoughts and feelings come from when we get super-busy, frustrated, and overwhelmed. And the negative attitude soon follows. Meditation is a great way to fight back against all of those feelings
- Schedule a laugh – A consistent habit of laughter can keep your attitude in a great place, and will provide a pick-me-up if you are having a down day. One of my go-tos? Damn You Autocorrect. I can always count on laughing so hard I cry at the mistakes our phones help us make!
A positive attitude can’t fix all your problems, but it always will put you in a better mindset to problem solve.
Bad Day: The Self-Care Cannon
Obviously as a STEMinista, I consider self-care a pillar to our success. It’s right in the STEMinista logo; you are the nucleus of making your life work.
Need some thought starters? Here are some great tips from Mental Health America:
- Live Healthy, eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and avoid drugs and alcohol. Manage stress and go for regular medical check-ups.
- Practice good hygiene. Good hygiene is important for social, medical, and psychological reasons in that it not only reduces the risk of illness, but it also improves the way others view you and how you view yourself.
- See friends to build your sense of belonging. Consider joining a support group to make new friends.
- Try to do something you enjoy every day. That might mean dancing, watching a favorite TV show, working in the garden, painting or reading.
- Find ways to relax, like meditation, yoga, getting a massage, taking a bath or walking in the woods.
So there you have it. In the war on the negativity that surrounds us, I’ve given you a gun, some ammo and a cannon.
What weapon do you need to pull out today, so your bad five minutes isn’t milked into a bad day?
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it may annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.