ARTICLE: The Art Of Having A Bad Day


“Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods.” – C.S.Lewis

bad dayA lot of personal development teachers and motivational guru’s like to drill home that the key to success is ‘State Management’, i.e. your ability to manipulate your physical and emotional being so that you are constantly aligned with success producing thoughts and actions. In fact, much of what I do in my own work involves helping people understand the structure of their own thoughts and behaviours so that they gain a deeper insight into what does and doesn’t work for them.

But (and it’s a big BUT) somewhere along the line the original message behind why it is important for us to learn how to master our moods has gotten a bit lost in translations. Rather than seeing it as a practice that we CAN undertake, because it is useful in helping us achieve desirable results more quickly and efficiently, the communication that many people actually get is that if you find yourself in anything other than a “I can move mountains” kind of a mood then you must be doing something wrong… or worse, there must be something wrong with you!

This was explained to me several years ago as being the path to “Self Help Hell”; where someone of a personal journey of growth and discovery spends more time beating themselves up about why they are not feeling more empowered, than they do on actually getting more of what they want.

I always cringe when I hear mantras like “You can’t afford the luxury of a negative thought!” Seriously? If there is ever a battle you are guaranteed to lose it has to be that is that one. At best it is just plain energy zapping.

How many of the thoughts that float through your mind in a 24 hour period do you consciously choose to put there? Thoughts come and go in our heads all day long and, for the most part, they happen all by themselves. Some are good, some are bad. Some go by without so much as a ‘hello’ while others jam their foot in the door and insist on an audience. But just because a negative thought comes a knocking, doesn’t mean you have to invite it in for a cup of tea. It’s just a thought! It is only when you sit down with it and say “tell me more” that you emotionally buy into its story.

In order to stop negative thoughts dictating the mood of your day you do not have do somehow overpower them with nicer happy thoughts; you just need to leave them outside on the step. Sure they might shout at you through the letterbox for a bit, but sooner rather than later they’ll just get bored and wander off.

When it comes to having a bad day, the grumpy mood you find yourself in is not the problem. The problem is almost always in you thinking that you shouldn’t be in that mood and that if you don’t do something right away to snap out of it then that will make you a bad person!!

It is not what people usually expect to hear from me but one of the best pieces of advice I can ever give is that it really is OK to let yourself have an off day from time to time. There will be plenty of days for you to be brilliant and move mountains and love everyone you meet, but if today is not that day then go easy on yourself. Have enough trust in yourself (and the laws of nature) to know that if you just let it be, it will soon pass.

It is like having a headache. If, instead of trying to ignore it, overcome it or simply wish it wasn’t happening, you decided to accept that it is there and that you really can be OK with that, then it will naturally dissipate more quickly and of its own accord. Trying to force ourselves into feeling better when we are in a bad mood often just reinforces the loop of increasing frustration and self-flagellation, which of course means we get to feel bad for longer.


I encourage you, next time you are having a rubbish day, or you don’t feel like being the master of the Universe, to just ride it out and stick to these three simple rules:

1, Resist looking for reasons WHY you are in a bad mood and just accept that you are (e.g. don’t try to make it someone else’s fault when really you know its not!)

2, Leave it until you are feeling more perky before making important decisions.

3, Ask “What is the kindest way for me to be taking care of myself right now?” Then with what ever comes up, just do that.

Wishing you lots of Happy days!!!

Take great care. Namaste.