How to Overcome Bad Days

July 31, 2018
James Whittaker
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“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

Jim Rohn

We ALL have bad days … every single one of us. There are many reasons why we might feel forlorn—whether it’s financial hardship, relationship stress, injury/illness or any number of other possibilities.

Symptoms of a slump include being irritable, tired or exhausted, low on confidence, feeling frustrated or angry at our situation, and being negative or indifferent to our future. But make no mistake, the response to adversity is what separates extraordinary achievers from the herd.

While there’s no magic pill or quick fix, you have MUCH more power over your future than you think. Here are 14 proven tips to help you level out the bad days and put the spring back in your step.

1. Recognize you’re not alone.

We’re all fighting our own battles and trying to do the best we can based on our life experiences. Often, we shield our greatest vulnerabilities from those closest to us. Rather than sitting a home alone where you can get caught in your own head, reach out to others. As Janine Shepherd says, recognizing we’re not alone removes the isolation and empowers us to take action.

2. Start a daily gratitude practice.

Get into the habit of daily gratitude. Not only does it allow your mind to reset, it helps you identify the multitude of gifts already in your possession and what you need to do in the present. In the last newsletter, you read about how Nelson Mandela was able to do this while being in a South African prison for 27 years. Unsure of where to start? Grab a copy of The 5 Minute Journal.

3. Watch what you’re eating.

Harvard Medical School recently pointed out that “a healthy diet was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing depressive symptoms.” To get the most out of your body, give it the right fuel:

  • Consume a varied diet of whole foods (i.e. food in its natural state, rather than processed food/drink) and water;
  • Do a weekly meal prep to save money and stay focused;
  • Plan ahead for any travel, which will also save you money on overpriced airport food.

4. Change your environment.

Numerous studies (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) have proven the benefits that getting outdoors and wandering through nature can have on everything from stress and inflammation, to self-esteem and energy levels … even life expectancy. Find a nearby park or forest, do a yoga session, play a team sport or enjoy some outdoor exercise that enables you to connect with nature, be present in the moment, and recharge.

5. Divide and conquer.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with everything on your plate, especially those with young children. Navy SEAL commander Jocko Willink recommends coming up with a plan of attack: deconstruct your tasks, sort them by priority, ask for help where you can, and take purposeful action until you’re back on track

6. Volunteer to help those less fortunate.

Helping those less fortunate is one of the most gratifying things we can do: it enables us to share a warm embrace with those we’ve been able to help, while also giving us perspective on the good in our own lives. Whether it’s helping children at a local special needs school, feeding the homeless, teaching military veterans to surf, or providing companionship at an aged care facility or hospice, there are countless ways to give back.

If you’re not in the right mindset for volunteer work, focus on less confronting options, such as giving a cheery “hello” to someone on your walk, picking up litter on the beach or engaging in friendly banter with a shop assistant.

7. Turn notifications off.

Better yet, put your phone on airplane mode or switch it off for a few hours each day. Free of distraction, you’re able to focus on the present.

8. Everyone has their own truth.

You might recall the quote: “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.” If you’re dealing with some type of conflict, try and see it from the other person’s perspective—after all, everyone has their own truth. This enables you to keep calm and respond, rather than impulsively react where the situation often ends up much worse.

9. Starve negative situations of oxygen.

Hang out with those who you have a common future with, not a common past. If someone in your life does not reciprocate with positive energy, allocate more time to those who align with your vision and values. Your energy focus is the most important weapon in your arsenal—protect it at all costs.

10. Increase your intake of positive material.

I’m constantly amazed at how much people allow the news to dictate their mood. Rather than let the sensationalist news cycle wear you down, focus on replacing it with inspiring books/audiobooks (e.g. The Obstacle is the Way), uplifting positive music, and informative podcasts like Win the Day with James Whittaker (also available on YouTube).

11. Plot your future.

Often, bad days can stem from a disconnect between where we are now and where think we should be. Get on the front foot and define what success looks like in all areas of your life (download the FREE Success Plan Template). It should be exhilarating to undertake that exercise—it’s literally a wishlist for the universe! You can then focus on recalibrating your routine to make sure you prioritize the most important tasks.

12. Give the best you’ve got on that day.

An essential part of long term success is to focus on giving the best you’ve got on that day. That advice came from Alethea Boon who, in an elite sporting career spanning two decades, has had her fair share of ups and downs. Putting additional pressure on yourself to notch a productivity record each day only increases your chance of burnout, injury or illness.

13. Train yourself to embrace the struggle.

Those who have read Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy will recall the stories of Janine Shepherd and Jim Stovall who overcome enormous adversity on their remarkable journeys. You are much stronger than you know. Make the decision to embrace the struggle and show the world just how great you are.

14. Ask for help.

Be honest and upfront about how you’re feeling, especially if your bad days have lasted for a while. Courage is asking for help and letting others in, not suffering in silence.

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Wishing you a week of action, adventure and laughter!

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

PS – Learn more about how you can use adversity as a stepping stone to greatness.

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