Bad Days Can Be Good for You

Girl overlooking beautiful view with hands in air embracing bad days that can be good for you

Whenever we have bad days, we usually reflect on them negatively. Understanding that every negative event has positive benefits is crucial to developing a healthier mindset. In fact, these so-called “bad days” can actually be good for you.

Bad Day? You’re Not Alone

If you feel like you’re having a bad day, know you’re not alone. A new study revealed that the average American experiences 60 bad days per year. The survey, commissioned by the Freeletics fitness app, took voluntary details from 2,000 working Americans dealing with stress.

In the study, they found out what constitutes a “bad day” and the effects it has on a person’s health. Not surprisingly, the average American experiences about 80 percent of their bad days due to stress at work—that’s four out of five bad days they experience in a month. Additionally, it was also revealed that lack of sleep is a huge contributing factor, at 67 percent. Other major factors include feeling sick, financial worry, and other work-related stress.

Interestingly, some reported a ruined day due to plans falling through, heartache, and— surprise!— a bad hair day (according to 25 percent of respondents). What was even more surprising is that eight percent blame their favorite sports team losing a game for their bad day!

Is It a Good or Bad Day? You Decide

There may not even be such a thing as a good or bad day. People perceive things in different ways. Remember the “is the glass half empty or half full” argument? At the end of the day, there’s always the same glass with the same amount of what’s inside—it’s how we view it that counts. Therefore, bad days are only bad when we decide that they are bad.

Next time you have a “bad day,” ask yourself if it was actually bad, or if you just allowed yourself to think negatively about the situation. As previously mentioned, it may just be a person’s perspective that decides whether the day is going well or not.

Aaron Kennard of the website Truly Amazing Life once wrote an article in 2012 titled, “There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Day,” in which he explained how people get what they are expecting. In his post he explained, “We just need to align our thoughts with the love and gratitude vibration that allows all goodness to flow to us and through us.” Basically, while there are things going on in life that may seem terrible in the moment, there are always things to be thankful for. He discusses how we decide these events are just bad parts of our day— not an entirely terrible day or even life. 

Medium’s contributing writer Ashley Winn seems to agree, with a similarly titled article in 2017 “Why There Is No Such Thing as a Bad Day.” In it, he explains how we have the “power to say no to the negativity of that bad moment and make the rest of the day a positive one because [we] deserve to have a good day. There are no bad days, only bad moments in the day that don’t define how the rest of the day turns out.”

Reasons to Appreciate the Bad Days

Bad days allow us to appreciate the good days and learn from them. Reflecting on bad days, or the events that caused them, help us identify what made it bad, so we can prevent it from affecting us negatively in the future. These bad days help a person practice gratitude, as hitting “lows” allows us to appreciate the “highs” of life even more. These hard times help us stay motivated—we can either remain in a slump or use it as a driving force to set ourselves up for success.

Additionally, being uncomfortable goes a long way when it comes to personal development. Forbes contributor Sujan Patel once wrote that being uncomfortable is the “key to success.” A study even revealed how the uncomfortable helps trigger a unique part of the brain that releases the “feel good” hormone dopamine. The kicker? That unique region of the brain (the hippocampus) is only activated when a person sees or experiences new things. This includes what we may sometimes think of as challenges or even bad moments. “Few people actually enjoy the feeling of being uncomfortable,” Patel observed. “The challenge is to get past that initial feeling of wanting to return to the norm, so you can grow and benefit from that discomfort.”

How to Prevent or Get Over Having a “Bad Day”

Bad days affect everyone. If you are having trouble getting over a rough day, here are a few tips to prevent it from happening again (or to get over one right now): 

Stay healthy and SLEEP!

Eating healthy, keeping fit, and getting enough sleep are underrated. In fact, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to recover from a bad day, giving you both rest and a fresh perspective— kind of like a reset button. Going for a jog or a nice walk releases endorphins and takes your mind off your bad day. And of course, eating healthy foods, especially those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, help increase the “feel good” hormone serotonin in your brain.

Find a Way to Destress

There are many ways to release stress. Exercise, listen to music, or engage in your favorite hobby, for starters. Self-care is also important. Try yoga, or even just a few simple breathing exercises. 

Remove Yourself From Negative Spaces

If you can’t, then find a quiet place where you can take a short break without any distractions, allowing yourself to process your feelings. You can even call someone up or spend time with trusted friends and family. Turning to them for support doesn’t have to turn into a counseling session— hanging out with them could be enough to lift your spirits! It’s a great way to shift your mood and can help prevent you from focusing all that energy on negative thoughts. 

Accept Things and Move Forward

Identify the source of your negative feelings. This allows you to fix the reasoning for the bad day. Accept that today may just not be your day and remind yourself that tomorrow is a new one. Look towards the future. While today may not be so great, you have to trust that everything will eventually be okay again.

Much like the lyrics in Robbie Williams’s song “Reverse,” we just have to remember that “It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.” If anything, the bad things that happen allow us to appreciate the great stuff even more.

About the Author

Josh Miles is a St. Petersburg/Tampa based writer who studied Business Management and Marketing at the University of South Florida. He believes that time spent with good friends and a connection with nature are keys to a healthy and happy life. In his free time, you will find him exercising, listening to music, or playing video games with friends.
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