It's Ok to have a Bad Day

Bruce Schutter
A young black woman having a stressful day at work

When we decide to make a change in our life, whether it's to quit smoking, start exercising regularly, or work on our mental health, we often have a detailed plan and high motivation. We believe that with this plan and a new way of living, we will find happiness and success. While it's true that we will likely make progress and feel happier, life will still challenge us. That's why it's important to remember that it's okay to have a bad day and to include this in our plans.

We are all human and have our limits. Even the Dalai Lama has days when he feels frustrated and overwhelmed. We must accept that there will be days when we are pushed to our limits. But we must also change our behavior to use our new mental health tools. We must manage the situation and work our way through it. Adding a dose of realism to our plans is essential. We need to realize that a new life does not exclude us from having problems.

Respond. Don’t React.  

One of the most important mental health tools is taking a pause. When we encounter a bad situation, we need to give ourselves a few seconds to pause and process what is happening. This helps us to "respond, not react," which can prevent us from making emotional decisions that could get us into trouble. This tool is invaluable for managing both addiction and depression problems.

Honor All of Your Emotions

It's important to understand that our new way of living, where we learn to manage our mental health, is a long-term plan. This is not a fad diet that we embrace for a few weeks or months. When we think about it mathematically, one bad day in 14 good ones is a small percentage. One bad day in 30 is even smaller. The impact of a bad day is minimal on the long-term equation when the percentage of bad days is not the majority.

Even if your emotions run the full spectrum many times a day or within an hour, as in the case of bipolar disorder, this logic still applies. One brief moment of sadness, which is stopped by using mental health tools, does not have to disrupt your day. At the end of the day, you can still feel positive about your progress and yourself.

Allow Yourself the Opportunity to Grow

Having a bad day can actually be an opportunity to use our mental health tools and strengthen our mental health resilience. We learn to handle situations that we previously would have fled from. We emerge stronger and with continued progress on our journey. It's important to remember that a bad day does not have to derail us completely. We can use it as an opportunity to practice our new skills and come out even stronger.

It's important to remember that it's okay to have a bad day and to include this in our plans. We need to accept that we are all human and have our limits, and we must change our behavior in those times to use our new mental health tools. We need to add a dose of realism to our plans and understand that our new way of living is a long-term plan. By doing this, we can increase our chances of success and save ourselves a lot of worry in the process. So, let's set up the correct mindset along with our new plans and embrace the fact that it's okay to have a bad day.

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