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BE: Five Ways to Make a Bad Day Better

Ever had a day when everything that could possibly go wrong does? It might start with lost keys, leading to running late, leading to your boss giving you the riot act. You’re really trying to see the silver lining, but what you really want is a do-over for the day.

Unfortunately, until the secret of time travel is discovered, you can’t hit reset on a bad day. But, you can keep things from going from bad to worse, and maybe even take control and turn it around by practicing these easy ways to add a little happiness to your day.

  • 1. Get your daily dose of vitamin D
  • Research shows that lower levels of vitamin D have been linked to a higher risk of depression. What’s an easy way to get more vitamin D? Go outside. Our bodies are equipped to make vitamin D by soaking up some sunshine. Remember to slather on the sunscreen, bring your sunglasses, and enjoy the fresh air.

  • 2. Plan a vacation
  • One 2010 study found that the anticipation of a vacation improved happiness for eight weeks before the actual vacation. Happiness levels returned to baseline after the vacation (because really, who wants to get back to the real world?), but no onecan take away that eight-week boost of happy leading up to it. What are you waiting for? Get busy planning out your ideal vacation.

  • 3. Meditate
  • People have been meditating for thousands of years—and they might be on to something. Plenty of recent research has shown the health benefits of integrating yoga and meditation into your daily life, but did you know that meditation could help reduce small to moderate amounts of psychological stress? If you’re interested in meditating, you can find guided meditations from the Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center’s Relax, Relax toolkit.

  • 4. Pump some iron
  • Or just do your favorite form of exercise. Many studies have shown there’s a boost in mood after exercise because of the endorphins (those “feel good” chemicals) released by your brain. Whatever exercise you choose to do, you can count on being just a little more upbeat when you’re done.

  • 5. Catch some Zzzz’s
  • Insufficient sleep has been linked to poor health, depression, and irritability, which is why it’s important to get a good night of quality sleep. That’s 7-8 hours during which your body can enter into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the period in which your brain literally recharges. So, if you’re having a bad day, you might want to get consider an earlier bedtime.

Everyone has good days and bad days. While there isn’t a cure for a bad day, you can learn to make them better by doing things to fill up your reservoirs of happiness.

As the Dalai Lama says, “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” ​​​