Bad Day – I Woke up on the Wrong Side of the Bed
Like every other bad day, I was angry. I wanted to punch someone. No one in particular, just anybody. Picking a fight seemed like a natural thing to do but it never ends well when I’m in this mood.
I was in tears. No specific reason. I wasn’t mad at anyone, just the whole world. When I find myself in this weepy self-loathing mode I usually play a negative tape over and over in my head. I remind myself that I’m not worthy of the goodness in my life. I look for all the things that are wrong and I magnify them. Why do I do this to myself? If I think about it logically nothing good comes from being cynical, sarcastic and moody. Or being angry and bitter, when I have so much to be grateful for.
Today Was A Different Sort of Bad Day
I was violent, aggressive and unforgiving.
The year was 1996 and the movie Independence Day had just hit the theaters. I didn’t go to movies much, but I’d seen the trailer and it looked pretty destructive.
Then the thought occurred to me that just maybe I was having a drama attack. Maybe I could get my drama fix in a movie theater, rather than acting it out in real life.
What Did I Have to Lose?
If I could pull myself off the path of destruction for a couple of hours the world would be a better place. So I went to the movies. Buildings blew up and the world crashed and burned.
Two and a half hours later I left the movie theater a new person. All my relationships were still intact. Nobody hated me. I hadn’t hurt anyone’s feelings and the angst I was feeling earlier had passed.
WAIT A MINUTE! You mean I can go to a movie and reset my biorhythms for $5 bucks? (That was the price of the movie ticket back then.) And that might just be the best five bucks I’ve ever spent.
That day I set some new ground rules for behavior when I’m having a bad day.
Waking up on the Wrong Side of the Bed
Did you ever have one of those mornings where you wake up angry at the world? You think House Cleaning? Not Today! You drop everything you pick up? Maybe your brain is foggy and you can’t focus. Or maybe you’re stuck in a rut where you can only play that broken tape of “I’m not good enough”. Or perhaps you aren’t paying attention and you bump into furniture or stub your toe. Everybody has those moments.
That’s right, they are moments, not days. If you can isolate them into moments they will quickly pass. When you say “I’m just having a bad day.” Or “I woke up on the wrong side of the bed” then you are giving yourself permission to stretch out the struggle.
Why do that to yourself? You’re a beautiful person and you deserve peace and happiness and success? Stretching negativity does not promote peace, happiness or success.
It’s okay and natural to have bad moments. Focus on letting them be moments, not entire days.
Biorhythms are a cyclic pattern of physical, emotional, and mental activity. You will have bad days. It is a biorhythmic phenomenon that you can’t ignore. The good news is that they come on a cycle. As easily as they came – they will also go. The key is to recognize that you personally are having a rainy day.
If you know what your cycle is you can manage the outcomes of the mood swings.
You’re Gonna Have a Bad Day
In our company and in our home, we allow everybody 3 bad days a month. (And that is overkill.) If you have a bad day where you feel mean and ugly inside, or you want to bite somebody’s head off we have rules for coping. We’ve followed these rules for 20 years both in my house cleaning company and in my home and they work really well. Here they are:
1) Claim Your Day
If you are unable to isolate your feelings into a passing bad moment, then claim the whole day. Don’t claim a few minutes today, and ten minutes tomorrow, and three hours on Friday, and an hour on Sunday. That makes everybody crazy. Just claim a day and get it out of your system.
2) Announce It
Simply state: “I’m having sensitivities today.” Don’t go into details. Don’t explain yourself. Don’t have any important conversations. If somebody talks to you, respond with yes and no. Smile, be polite. Fly under the radar. It’s like riding a motorcycle in heavy rain – you pull under the overpass until the rain lets up and no one is the wiser.
3) Avoid Agitators
These are sugar, alcohol, drugs, caffeine and comfort foods. You don’t want to trick yourself into feeling better with agitators. Stick with veggies and smoothies. It will help you detox your body and your attitude.
4) One At a Time Please
Only one person in a company or family gets to claim that day. If you and your coworker claim the same day – all heck is going to break loose. Flip a coin.
5) Create Space
If somebody claims a day, honor that. Give them some space. Save your important conversations until a different day. Be kind. This is not a day for nagging and getting to the bottom of things. Let it go until the rain passes.
6) Come Back
When the sensitivities end – announce that you’re back. Come back and pick up where you left off and continue being normal and happy.
Isolate Bad Moments – From A Bad Day
Before you claim an entire day, ask yourself if this could just be a moment. A moment is where you fall down and get right back up again. You might realize you don’t need an entire day to be grumpy, sarcastic and depressed.
Don’t claim a day if you don’t need or want it.
It’s Exhausting to Be Miserable for an Entire Day
In our home when we stub our toes, instead of cursing, which doesn’t actually help anything – we play a game. We see if we can keep a straight face while hopping around on one foot. And we say these exact words. “I wish that didn’t happen.” Everyone knows it means something really bad just happened. And you get the sympathy you need instead of making people run in the opposite direction in fear. It usually ends in laughter which is closely associated with pain.
It is easier to laugh through bad moments with support, than to curse and make everybody afraid.
Choose to have bad moments rather than bad days.
Do you know how long a moment is? If you Google it, Wikipedia will tell you it is 90 seconds. “In the middle ages, an hour was considered to be made up of 40 minutes, with each minute divided into 40 moments. Disregarding the elastic notions of time then prevailing, and allowing 3,600 modern seconds to the hour, that gives us 90 seconds to each.” Whatever.
But if you are watching the hands of a clock, 90 seconds is a LONG time. If you are efficient, that is enough time to have a moment and then bounce back without turning into a nasty person.