I had a bad day last week. It started with me reading the news, followed by me looking at social media – another crisis had occurred for everyone to fight over; then it seemed like everything else throughout my day went wrong. I walked into my house that evening ready at any moment to burst. Bernard reads me like a book and asks me what is the matter? I proceed to tell him all about the things that upset me and that went awry. Bernard innocently says, “I don’t know why you let yourself get so upset about what other people say and do…” There it is my tipping point. I become irrational, and ugly crying did occur. I cry, “I don’t know how you don’t care about the world falling apart…” I told you I was irrational.
I decide to go for a run, which is my version of meditation. As I ran, several things occurred to me.
- I was angry with myself for letting things – many of which were entirely out of my control- affect my day.
- I was mad at myself for bringing my lousy mood home with me, something I vowed long ago not to do.
- I was upset at myself for being so irrational that my logical husband had to point it out to me. Bernard never gloats when he is right in these situations, but still what wife enjoys when she is wrong, and her husband is right.
The commonality in these revelations is that I was feeling frustrated with myself. I willingly allowed negativity to influence my day. I then brought it home and let it affect my husband, and I’s evening.
It is the selfish nature of humans that we can get so entrenched in what we have going on that we forget or do not realize the impact our mood can have on those around us. It is also easy to fall into a “woe-is-me” state of mind, believing we do not have any control over our moods at any given time. If we claim, it is something or someone else’s fault we give that thing or person power over our lives, we then without even meaning to monopolize other people’s moods and on and on it can go.
I believe in taking accountability for myself. In any situation, where I find I am at odds with something or someone I ask myself, “How did I contribute to this situation?” I pondered this question while I ran and came up with the following:
- I read the news and then got onto social media knowing both would have a lot of negative headlines and posts.
- I continued to read articles, posts, and comments even though I recognized that they were upsetting me.
- Already annoyed, I allowed every single mishap, problem, and frustration to affect my mood. From getting cut off by another driver, to the printer at work jamming, to a fellow grocery shopper not understanding how to use self-checkout, and finally, my husband not being sensitive to my irrational emotions.
Self-improvement is always something for which I strive. In addition to pondering how I contributed, I also thought of what I could do differently next time. My next time solutions:
- I like to be informed so eliminating the news from my life does not seem probable. Instead, I will check the headlines, even read an article, but if I find something upsets or angers me, I will stop reading.
- I should probably stay off Social Media altogether; however, there is the option to scroll past anything that bothers me, ignore it, or I can hide it from my feed.
- I can say to myself, “I will not let this affect my day.” It may seem ridiculous, but since last week, I have tried this, and it made me feel more empowered because it jilted my negative thinking and forced me to take control of my thoughts and feelings.
- I can let out my frustration in a healthy and constructive way rather than taking it out on my husband. I can run (preferably before discussing my day with Bernard), do yoga, dance to my favorite song, or some other form of exercise. Or another option, I can journal, an outlet I have always found to be therapeutic.
- When interacting with Bernard, I can vocalize that I am feeling frustrated by my day and I can ask that we not speak for a little bit while I cool down. By doing this, I can get into a better frame of mind for discussion.
The possibilities are endless. I am curious, what do you do to turn your bad days to good? How do you let out frustration?
I assure you like everyone else, I am human, I will make mistakes, and I guarantee I will have another bad day at some point in my life. It is ensuring my lousy day does not turn other people’s day lousy as well, that is most essential.