Flip that funk: 5 ways to make your shitty day feel more awesome

Guest post by Dakoma
By: Rachel KramerCC BY 2.0

I have had a lot of trying times in my life, many of them within the last few years. We all have people come and go from our lives at lightning speed with or without warning. The following tidbits are things are the things that have always been able put me in a better mood when I’m down.

If you can do all of them daily — that’s great! If you can squeeze one in here and there — that works just as well. But honestly, the best time to follow any of these is on your WORST days, even just one of them. They are not easy, but they are not costly either; regardless the rewards you will reap will be endless.

Here are my five things that always make me happier…

1. Get OUT!

I know, I know, you hear that all the time. Vitamin D is good for you blah blah blah. But this is a really good thing to do, it really does work. Got a fifteen minute break or a lunch break? Take it outside — someplace away from the hustle and bustle. Get some zen time to just breathe in the air, and enjoy the sun or shade depending on your preference. And don’t bring your cell phone, or tablet, or anything else other than maybe your lunch with you.

2. Help someone else

You don’t have donate to charity or volunteer for a million hours. I get my best karma boosts and good feely vibes from just helping someone out. Just the other day I helped push a lady’s car across traffic in a busy intersection — alone in my full belly dance costume — and got her up and going again. I waited with with her for help to come because she was scared to be on the side of the road alone.

Instead of donating your old coat to a Goodwill or selling it off; personally give it to someone in need. For no reason. That extra half a whole sub you have? Same thing.

The possibilities here are endless really. You don’t have to help someone less fortunate, though it is nice, but just helping someone else out is stupendous.

3. Touch someone

We are HUMAN, we are social beings, and we have ostracized ourselves more and more especially with technology. I will be the first to admit, this is really awkward at first. I am NOT a hugging person. I didn’t come from a hugging family; we just don’t do that kinda thing. I married into a huggy family though, a large one at that. While that has helped, it hasn’t cured me. Ever meet someone a few times and go to say “bye” to them and have them want to hug you but hold back, then you kinda lean in for the hug but then shrink back a little when you seem them shrink? Just do it! Go for it, don’t be ashamed hug them. Hugs make everyone feel better.

Not ready for a hug? How about a high-five (that’s right we’re bringing it back). No wimpy high fives, put some enthusiasm behind it. Start small, pick one or two acquaintances you see semi-regularly and target them. Then work from there.

4. Take some time to meditate and philosophize

Practice meditating, I know it sounds all New Age and time-consuming, but it isn’t. Take 10 minutes out of your day and just take deep breath with your eyes closed and watch your thoughts and worries float away in little bubbles. Don’t think about the bubbles or the thoughts just watch them come and go without focusing on them (it takes practice).

Don’t have a space in your home where people will leave you be? Sit in the car in the driveway and do this before you go inside.

5. Make some history!

Sit down with family members, like your parents or grandparents, with a tape recorder or note pad and ask them about all of their memories, passed family members you may not know, times in history, your birth, experiences they had. Make it a day! Take them out for coffee or tea once a month and map out your family tree, with notes about each person and not just health concerns. Ask about everything and see where the conversation goes. Don’t make it a chore make it a conversation.

Do you have any shitty mood shifters? What do you do to make your day happier?

Comments on Flip that funk: 5 ways to make your shitty day feel more awesome

  1. #5 is an awesome suggestion in general!

    Personally, I always forget how much listening to music can bringmy mood back around. I will be super stressed at work and feel my brain rebelling, but when I put on some headphones and work to some music, everything is so much better.

    • YES! I have this same thing – sometimes I suddenly realize that I’ve been feeling crappy just because I haven’t listened to music for a long time! (Due to some inexplicable chain of events.)

    • Especially if it’s something you listened to during happier times like for my I pull out stuff I listened to while in high school and I just feel happy…even if the music itself isn’t in the happy go lucky genre’s….damn it yes Dashboard Confessional could bring me out of a funk even if I used to listen to it for cathartic reasons.

    • I have special play lists in iTunes for mood adjustment.

      I have one called “Cheerful” that is composed of songs that are up-beat and cheerful or which just make me smile or give me warm fuzzies. I also have one called “It’s Gonna Be Ok” which is all songs that say, in one way or another, “You’re ok. It’s going to be ok” and another one of songs that make me sleepy.

      I also have a playlist that I use to calm myself when I’m feeling angry, cranky, stressed or anxious, but it just consists of everything I have by Enya:p Because there is something about Enya that just hits me right in the parasympathetic nervous system.

    • I have just started doing this too, putting on my headphones and listening to music at my desk. It means that I can block out other distractions, focus only on what I’m doing and power through my work. not only do I get to listen to some nice music, but I feel really good about how productive it makes me.

      • This is so common and yet my boss flat disbeleives that music is anything but distracting. So much that any music playing devices/earplugs are forbidden and a formal verbal warning is a likely outcome.

    • Agree, especially if it is outside near trees!

      I NEVER want to start exercising, but I know it always makes me feel better physically and mentally when I’m done, so I do it.

    • And, while working up a good sweat is great, this can also be as simple as taking a walk around the block (Which combines it with Get Out) or getting down on the floor and doing some stretches.

  2. Haven’t done number five, but I can personally vouch for 1-4. These last six months have been some of the hardest of my life, and those four things really do honestly help. They may only take my mind of my problems for an hour or two, or sometimes a day, but they do honestly help. And a break from sadness of any kind, no matter how short is always welcome.
    I also want to add, on days when I feel particularly down and don’t want to go to the gym, those are the days that I MUST go to the gym. I may hate it while I’m there, but afterwards, I feel better emotionally and physically, and it does help. If I don’t go to the gym on those days, I’ll just sit and sink further into sadness. Exercise does help.

  3. “Ever meet someone a few times and go to say “bye” to them and have them want to hug you but hold back, then you kinda lean in for the hug but then shrink back a little when you seem them shrink? Just do it! Go for it, don’t be ashamed hug them. Hugs make everyone feel better. ”

    This strikes me as a bad idea. Some people really do prefer more personal space and would be bothered by someone hugging them. It’s always a good idea to respect people’s boundaries. Not everyone wants a hug, and that is okay.

    I like the rest of the suggestions!

    • Personally, I felt exactly the opposite. Hugs are good. Being about to hug someone and holding back? Almost always awkward, and just leads to questioning your relationship. “Are we just not close enough to hug yet?” If I’m ever in question, I almost always just hug them. Obviously there’s going to be some people out there who object, but hopefully they’ll be the one to bring that up when the situation occurs. Taking the initiative on stuff like that feels pretty good.

      • I’m a person that like hugs, but I also know there are people who really do not like others getting that close to them (physically) and who would be upset by being hugged. If someone “shrinks back” when you go to hug them, that sounds like a good sign that they don’t want a hug and that you should back up to instead of continuing with something that might make them very uncomfortable. Hugs are great for people who like them (and I like hugs, really I do) but some people really are not hugging people and it is best to respect that. (I’m mostly thinking of new friends and acquaintances whose comfort levels you might not know yet when I mention all this.)

    • I think is really where communication comes in. If I’m ever unsure about whether or not it’s ok to hug someone but I kinda want to, I ask: “Hug?”, “Do you want a hug?”, “Can we have a hug?” – and that way it’s ok for people to say no. I have friends who don’t hug, and that’s cool, I have friends who do it all the time. I have friends who are just learning, and sometimes it’s ok and sometimes it’s not. Communication FTW.

      • When my mum ran her daycare, we taught the little kids to ask by going “hugga-wugga?”. It helped them to learn boundaries while at the same time promoting positive touch.

  4. I needed this yesterday. Actually, I need this fairly frequently when I start feeling blah. Good suggestions, most of which I do already to some degree. But I also easily talk myself out of doing them for some reason, which is probably why I end up in a funk!
    The helping someone else is interesting. I work in a helping profession, and sadly it turns me off from helping others outside of my job. But you presented it in a way that seems very doable. Just yesterday I helped two coworkers who asked me for advice on how to deal with their pregnancy leave from work (I’m the most recent person to go through it).

  5. I know this isn’t for everyone, but one thing that I have done since I was about 10 years old is journal. Once my thoughts are on paper, I don’t have to think about them constantly. I know the information is there if I ever want to read it and go back to it. It really takes a load off my mind.

  6. I have a file on my computer where I collect nice things people have said about me, so I can go and be reminded that I don’t suck as much as it feels like I do in that moment.

  7. This sounds ridiculous, but it works for me. When someone asks me “how are you?” I flash them a big smile and reply “I’m awesome, how are you.” I’ve noticed several benefits:

    1. If I’m having a shit day, saying that I’m awesome or amazing actually lifts my mood. And hey, even if the day isn’t so amazing *I’m* still amazing.
    2. It breaks the script, but not in an obnoxious way. Suddenly the conversation isnt cashier-customer anymore, it’s person to person. They comment that they haven’t ever heard anyone say awesome or they wish they were having an awesome day or they want to know why my day is so awesome. It touches on the need for human interaction.
    3. Having to answer “why is your day awesome?” Means I have to find some silver lining to focus on. Even if the only thing is “well I’m sure looking forward to this cup of coffee.”
    4. Nine times out of ten, it’s infectious. It brightens up the other person’s day just a bit. I see their eyes light up and they smile back. And that creates a feedback loop. Because I’ve made them a little happier, that makes me happier.

  8. This is a great thread. I’ll have to get back here in a couple of days to see what other things people suggest.

    I would add: Spend time with people who like you and who make you laugh. Hang out with these people in person if you can, but talking on the phone or by instant message or on a discussion board where you feel a sense of community and have friendships are all good for this as well.

    And for me, personally, (and this is one where your millage definitely may very) “Spend quiet time alone” is also important, especially when I’m under stress.

  9. With a preschooler, a baby, and work, keeping everything together takes all of our time. On days where it’s pouring rain, both kids are grumpy and I’m exhausted from being woken up every hour by my teething baby; I dress up in my feel good clothes and think about how fab my life is.

    My usual wear is a pair of dirty jeans, old sweater and sneakers. If you see me standing outside the preschool in heels and a skirt, you know I’m operating on four hours of sleep!

  10. One thing I really miss living in a city with only a few friends is the physical touch thing. I’m used to having a bunch of female and male friends who are totally comfortable with hugs, grabs, and general lying-all-over-each-otherness. I’ve really keenly noticed in the last couple of months how much I miss that range of physical contact, even though I still have my husband for all-important hugs!
    One thing I used to to when I was having a shitty day in retail (or had a customer who themselves seemed to be having a shitty day), was to complement something of the customer’s. A simple “That colour is gorgeous on you!” “I love your handbag!” or “That tshirt is awesome!” immediately brightens the other person’s mood, and when faced with a smiling (and sometimes flustered! gosh! compliments!) person, it’s kind of hard to not smile back. 🙂

  11. I like number three. When I’m down, I have a nasty habit of shutting down emotionally and shutting everyone out. Sometimes all I want is a hug SO badly, but being in a grumpy mood doesn’t exactly give off the cuddly vibes. I know number one works, it also helps with anxiety. Going for a walk and breathing clean air kind of restarts your brain. You’re not surrounded by the chaos that got you worked up. Number two also works. Focusing on others takes the focus off of yourself. It’s pretty hard to throw yourself a pity party when you’re noticing the world around you. 🙂 and when all else fails…LAUGH! Laughing makes me feel better. There’s a lot of it in this house, along with bad puns.

  12. I recently wrote up what I call “My Self Care List” for when I’m having a hard day or am feeling emotionally drained. My list includes:
    -Take an Epsom salt bath (or bubble bath if that’s your thing but I’m allergic)
    -Go for a run or take a walk outside while listening to music
    -Take a nap
    -Have a cup of coffee or tea (coffee is my comfort food)
    -Eat something simple. My favorite right now is almond butter on toast with banana and honey
    -Read a book or a comic
    -Watch old episodes of Buffy/Doctor Who/Firefly or whatever your favorite show is
    -Listen to a podcast. I love This American Life, Radio Lab, and The Moth
    -Buy myself a bottle of wine and cook a nice dinner. Sometimes you need wine…
    -Write a letter to a friend
    -Clean or organize one thing. Like do the dishes or put away your laundry
    -Knit (or crochet if that’s your thing)
    -Play Final Fantasy on the DS
    -Paint my nails
    -Buy a new pen/yarn/nail polish/eyeliner to have fun with
    -Go to yoga or follow a dvd at home
    -Read some good fan fiction or watch fan videos about your favorite shows or movies
    -Work in my sketchbook either drawing, journaling, or creating collages
    I hope this list helps!

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