We all have bad moods. But some people allow their bad moods to turn into bad days, bad weeks, bad months, even bad years. Here’s something to think about: no one is in charge of your mood but you. No one can hurt your feelings, and no one can make you mad.
Some of us, however, fall prey to victim mentality and want to point their fingers and blame others for their bad days. But once you accept this responsibility—that you can choose to maintain your power over your circumstances—you can change your bad day into a better one.
Simply tell yourself, “At every moment of my life I’m 100 percent responsible for my own happiness. The outside world may or may not help me become happy. However, I have this choice every day—that’s my power. And the choice is to not give my power away to technology or to situations or other people.”
One secret to avoiding bad days is not to take other people’s behaviors personally. If you really look at most people, they are unconsciously going through life doing the best that they can. They’re not deliberately trying to hurt your feelings or ignore you. The truth is they have very little bandwidth to think of anything but themselves. So when you’re having a bad day because something has gone wrong, there are mind hacks that you can do.
The first mind hack is to understand that you can’t think of two things at the same time. If you’re thinking about what a bad day it is, you can’t be thinking about all the fantastic things happening in your life. Since your mind can only focus on one thing, what you focus on expands. So it’s your job every day to focus on the things that make you happy, that make you feel better, that you have control over.
Another helpful tip is to do a pattern interrupt in your life. When you realize that things have gone bad, first have the skill of awareness: “Oh, I’m in an unresourceful state of mind. I am not feeling good. I am upset about something.”
Give yourself permission for a moment to say, “OK this is the way it is. However, I do have the power to change that.” A pattern interrupt could be anything—whatever gives you stress relief. For example, I have a little dog here in my office. When I’m having a really challenging moment, I’ll pick her up and hold her for a few minutes and get a little dog love.
I may go outside and stand in the sunshine for a few minutes. I may walk around in nature. I may call a friend of mine and just chat for 15 minutes. It can be any kind of pattern interrupt that keeps me from thinking about the bad day. Give yourself permission to get out of that doom-and-gloom mindset.
Next forgive yourself for whatever part you played in the bad day. There are things that happen to us that turn bad—but we tend to make them worse. So first forgive yourself and forgive everybody else that is involved—because, remember, when you’re pointing at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you. Accept that you’re responsible for a portion of that bad day.
Something else you can do when you’re having a bad day is reframe it. Stop thinking it’s the end of the world as we know it. One of the things I do on a regular basis is go to a planetarium. I love to look at where the Earth is in the Milky Way and the millions of stars and planets. They remind me that in the entire universe, I’m on this little, teeny earth. On the earth I’m in this little teeny place in Virginia Beach. My problems in the big picture of life are insignificant, and I am personally making those problems worse than they need to be.
Another idea is to write—another pattern interrupt—a short list of what you’re grateful for. I know that if I can start feeling gratitude or shift my energy to be of service to someone else—drop out of being Lee Milteer—then I truly will get myself out of that bad mood.
You might also ask yourself, “Where is this pattern from? Who did I learn it from?” You may find that you are annoyed and have frustration about things that you learned from society, or your parents, or somebody that was close to you. You can choose to create a different pattern. You can choose to have that same situation, but a different outcome.
Be proactive and visualize exactly what you want. Envision what you want in life to help you overcome those patterns. Remember your job is to look for solutions and stop complaining about a bad mood. “OK, so things have gone wrong. That is where we are right now. My big power is where I focus my energy next.”
These hacks can help with any kind of bad mood, and in the big scheme of life, you won’t even remember it. Stop spending $100 worth of energy on a 10-cent problem, something that, if you stop thinking about, will just float away.