Renewed perspective: 3 things to do when you are having a challenging day
Ever had a day that just seems to start off wrong?
You wake up late.
Your kids won’t stop fussing.
You spill your coffee.
Your spouse has an attitude.
One thing seems to pile up after another. Before you know it, you are complaining and just have a bad attitude. Your words become daggers thrown at anyone who gets in your way. You go from being in a bad mood to having a bad day.
The good news—you can turn your day around!
The next time you have a challenging day, try these three tips to help renew your perspective.
1. Practice the Pause
I will be the first to admit; it is easy to react to the actions and words of others. We raise our voices or maybe even withhold affection because we are upset. When I am having a challenging moment, usually the last thing I want to do is to stop and pause. But taking a moment to step back from the situation to pause, breathe and reflect works.
Taking a moment to pause doesn’t have to be a big deal. If you are able, walk into another room to take a few minutes before responding. Wait before returning a text or email. Listen to a praise and worship song. Do a few stretches. Before lashing out, express to others that you need a moment. (Remember, no one is a mind reader.) Being still to pray and to meditate can help quiet the raging thoughts and emotions swirling within us. Remember, how we respond is a choice!
2. Express Gratitude
Anytime we are having a challenging day, every little problem can be magnified. We see all the things wrong with ourselves, our environment, or in our relationships. Expressing gratitude helps us to shift our focus from reacting to the problems, the attitudes or the challenges of the day.
Express your gratitude out loud. Verbalize your appreciation for actions of others. Maybe it was someone who opened a door for you. Maybe your spouse helped with the dishes. Or kid remembered to clean up without asking. Whatever it is–speak to it.
Consider using a gratitude journal. If you are finding yourself complaining about your spouse, write one to three things you love about him. If you are finding yourself complaining about being a stay-at-home mom, write down one to three things being at home allows you do to for and with your children. Changing our thought pattern from complaint to expressing gratitude can help change our hearts. Whatever you decide to do, allow expressing gratitude to be a part of your everyday life.
3. Speak kind
Being rude and speaking unkindly to others doesn’t take much effort. Choosing to speak kindly to those around us in the face of challenge requires discipline and self-control. At some point, we must choose to let go of the anger, the sadness, and/or the frustration. We can offer words of kindness even when our boss has an attitude, we get cut off on the interstate, or your kid hits your heel with the grocery basket (oh, that hurts!). Kindness is a choice!
We are each responsible for how we feel and how we treat others when we experience challenging days. This includes how we even talk to ourselves. The words that we say to ourselves in our heads have just as much impact as how we speak to others. When we experience challenging moments, it can be easy to say things like: “I’m so stupid.”; “I’m not worth loving.”; “I can’t do anything right.”; or even worse. One kind word, even to yourself, can change your perspective. Practicing a pause and expressing gratitude can help you take the negative thought captive and replace it with the truth of God’s word.
Remember, a bad moment doesn’t have to equate to a bad day, a bad month, or a bad year.
We owe it to ourselves and those around us to pause, to express gratitude and to speak kindly. At any point, we can turn a challenging day into a productive one with a renewed perspective.
What will you do to change your day around?