11 Ways to Turn Around a Bad Day in 10 Minutes or Less

Man eating pastry with jelly spilled on his tie

Bad days happen to the best of us. Maybe it starts off when you wake up late and continues with the worst commute traffic you’ve ever seen, then really gets going with some bad news at work. Before you know it, you’re spiraling out of control. This puts you in a bad state of mind, and that’s when you make bad decisions.

Believe it or not, you’re not at the mercy of the day. Sure, there will always be events that meditation or some music can’t fix. But when you’re having a traditional, all-around bad day, the 11 fixes below can help you turn it around and get yourself in a better state – in 10 minutes or less.

1. Exercise

The fastest method of turning around a bad day is to get some exercise. Pair it with some music and you can really get your brain on a better track pretty quickly. Exercise can be walking, running, or even some pushups and jumping jacks in your office. Get moving and get those endorphins flowing to make your day better.

2. Meditate

You can also take the opposite approach to exercising your body: Take a little time for yourself and meditate. Mindful meditation can reduce anxiety and stress, two common culprits of bad days.

There doesn’t have to be some esoteric, mystical component to meditating. Basically you just have to sit comfortably, focus on your breathing, and bring your thoughts to the present.

This helps you to not focus on issues in the past or things that need to be done in the future. Stress and bad days usually come from the past and the future, so focusing on the present can be a big help.
Man lifting boot with gum stuck to its sole

3. Turn Up the Music

Music has a way of changing your state of mind better than just about any other method out there. Some music relaxes, some helps you focus, and some can get you pumped up and excited.

You can ignore the music made specifically for moods and make this even easier. Listen to your favorite song and sing along at a volume that’s a little louder than is comfortable. Singing along to a longtime favorite song puts you in the same state as the other times you’ve listened to it.

Give it a try, and don’t be afraid to have your coworkers hear “Walking on Sunshine” or “Shiny Happy People” coming from your office or people at a red light watch you belting out a power ballad in your car.

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Cat yawning

4. Laugh a Little

Nothing improves a bad day more than a good laugh. While it’s impossible to force yourself to laugh and get a good result, there are more than enough videos and pictures out there to get you in a humorous mood.

A good funny animal video or a bus acting like a boss are surefire ways to at the very least make you crack a smile. Spend 10 minutes checking out some funny videos and you’ll feel a little better.

5. Be Mindful and Grateful

Take a few minutes and be mindful of the world around you, making sure to toss in a healthy dose of gratitude, too. Remember that while you might be having a bad day, overall you’re actually in a pretty great time of your life. It may sound cheesy, but a few minutes of really thinking about what you have to be thankful for is a good thing.

If you donate to charity, remember that the work you’re doing is helping that happen. If you’re running errands for friends or family, think about how much of a good thing that really is. Live in the now and be mindful of what’s going on.

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6. Eat Some Chocolate

Probably the tastiest tip in this list: a little chocolate can go a long way. Research has shown that compounds in chocolate can actually enhance your mood, and the taste alone is a great way to get your mind off a bad day.

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Keep an emergency chocolate bar in your desk for a bad day, and don’t worry about eating the whole thing. Take 10 minutes, kick back, and enjoy the chocolate. Not only will the omega-3 fatty acids in the chocolate help stabilize a bad mood, but forcing yourself to relax and enjoy something helps reset your brain and get you back on track.
Woman lying on grass wearing funny glasses, nose and mustache

7. Get Some Green in Your Life

Believe it or not, color actually affects your mood, and we’re not talking about mood rings here. Most notably, the color green can help adjust your mood in a good way. Closely tied to the environment and the outdoors, green can relax and refresh you.

Maybe you change your computer wallpaper to a bright green field covered in grass, or maybe you go put on your favorite green sweater. Whatever you do, get some green in your life to help ease away a bad day.

8. Achieve a Goal

It’s easy to fall into the rut of a bad day, and even easier to stay there when things don’t go as planned and goals and projects don’t get completed on time. A great way to change that feeling is to rack up a win, no matter how small.

That could mean doing the dishes, or even just cleaning up around the house. Finish a task, achieve a goal, and you’ll be thinking a lot differently.

9. Declutter

Speaking of achieving a goal, removing clutter is a solid way to make a day better pretty quickly. While some believe that a cluttered desk means a full mind, many of us tend to feel stress and unhappiness when looking at a desk that’s covered in junk.

Clean up your desk, and by the time you’re done your day should be a little better, even if only because you had a task to focus on and didn’t think about your bad day for a little while.

10. Reevaluate the Day

Starting the day off with a bad attitude can make just about everything else that happens seem terrible. Maybe everything that added up to your bad day wasn’t really that awful after all.

Change your perception of what is going on, and what you think is a bad day could very easily turn into a nice, normal day – possibly even a great one.
Downtown street scene with front of taxi in foreground

11. Get On With It!

Finally, after you’ve listened to music, eaten some chocolate, and exercised, you just need to move on. Bad stuff happens, but letting it affect the rest of your day isn’t helpful at all. Why ruin the second part of a day just because the first part was bad?

Bad things happen, there’s no way around that – and you’re going to be in a bad mood from time to time. The goal is to avoid building on bad events and feelings to make a single event define an entire day. Deal with it, move on, and let things get better from there.

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