Just a couple of days ago I had this question. How do you remain positive when it feels like everything is going wrong?
First thing that morning I struggled. I was running behind and kept forgetting things. I just knew we would be late. At work I had a day full of fast-paced meetings. My task list seemed to grow exponentially. After work it felt like a comedy of errors. Nothing was going right.
I was so frustrated. In my head I was saying, “Why do these things keep happening to me?”, “I just can’t win!”, “Don’t these people know I’m overwhelmed already?” At that moment, 6 PM in the evening, I couldn’t see how anyone could have seen the positivity in that day.
But I have come too far. I have learned so much in the last year. When I asked the question, how can you stay positive on a day when everything goes wrong, I knew I had to figure it out.
I stopped what I was doing. I stepped outside into the cold. I shut the door on the kids, the dog and dinner. I took a moment to analyze my day.
I realized that I struggled in the morning because I hadn’t set myself up to be successful. Over the weekend, I chose to do other things and not do my weekly prep. Its OK that I made that choice, but I needed to realize there were consequences. If I start to get stressed I need to remind myself that I made a choice.
The frustrations of the morning clearly carried over into my workday. My internal conversation continued to be negative. I was stressing over matters that were out of my control. I was perceiving everything as negative.
By the time I left work and went to pick up the kids my stress and anxiety levels were high. I needed to pick both kids up and get my son to physical therapy. I was rushing and fumbling which made me more frustrated.
There was clearly a domino effect here. The first step in stopping this from happening is to recognize it. Be aware of it. Learn from it. Hopefully the next time I see myself slipping down this slope I can identify it and re-focus on the positive.
Lastly, I needed to see the good in that day. I thought about how amazing my son did in physical therapy and how far he has come. I thought about how my daughter was singing songs to my son on the way to school and how compassionate she is. Next thing you know I was smiling.
I was choosing to see the negative and focus on it that day. Good things were happening and I ignored them.
As I sit here and look back I can see how my negative attitude spread to other people. The kids were less cooperative because I was being a jerk. They were likely anxious and stressed when I dropped them at school. My coworkers’ and employees’ perceptions of certain things were probably altered based on my negative words.
So, back to the original question. How do you stay positive when you are having a bad day? The truth is, if I am having a “bad day” it’s because I’m choosing to. I’m not saying that bad things will never happen. I’m saying that I have to be a willing participant in this “bad day”. By choosing not to stress about things out of my control and focusing on being grateful, I am going to have a good day. 😊