When something bad happens, it’s easy to let it ruin your whole day. While it’s impossible to avoid a bad day entirely, there are some ways to keep the negativity from taking over. Here are some tips for staying resilient in the face of adversity.
Practice Gratitude: A growing body of research has linked gratitude with a sense of overall well-being. Studies suggest we may be able to pry ourselves out of negative ruts by counting our blessings. When negative events seem to be conspiring to ruin your day, it can help to think about all the gifts in your life. It can also help to think of the millions of people in the world who would consider their dreams answered if they could live as you do now.
Meditate: Recent studies have shown that meditation is a powerful tool for improving personal well-being. Research has shown that meditation can actually change the structures of our brain by increasing gray matter volume. A study out of Yale University also found that meditation can reduce activity in parts of the brain related to mind-wandering and rumination. If you find yourself clinging to negative thoughts, take ten minutes to meditate and see if your attitude improves.
Stay Mindful: According to a study out of Harvard University, people tend to be less happy when they allow their minds to wander. This research is consistent with other studies which have linked mindfulness to improved mental well-being. If you find yourself contemplating past or future events, stop and focus on what's in front of you. Pay attention to your work and your senses. Avoid rumination, especially if it centers on issues that are beyond your control.
Go outside: Numerous studies have linked a lack natural sunlight to depression, seasonal affective disorder and low mood. These researchers actually found that subjects had higher serotonin levels on bright days compared to cloudy or overcast days. If you're locked inside an office, try taking a short walk. This can be especially effective, since you're combining the positive effects of sun exposure with the positive effects of exercise.
Exercise: Few things impact our mental well-being as favorably as exercise. Countless studies have found that physical activity improves mental health by reducing depression, anxiety and negative mood, while also improving cognitive function and self-esteem. If you're having "one of those days," make a quick visit to the gym or simply take a short walk around your office building. This can improve your outlook, while giving you a much-needed energy boost to get you to the end of a tough day.
Long-term Strategies for Building Resiliency
Problems and disappointments are a part of daily life. While it's not always possible to prevent difficulties, we can take steps to build resiliency. This includes eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. It also involves getting adequate sleep, each and every night. Studies have linked sleep deprivation to increased irritability, stress, anxiety and depression.
When we fail to prioritize sleep, we hamstring our ability to combat adversity. You can promote better sleep by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day - even on weekends. You should also avoid caffeine, alcohol, smartphones and other proven sleep-inhibitors at least two hours before bedtime. By improving your sleep hygiene, you will improve your ability to confront and conquer the challenges of the day.
If you or someone you know are going through difficult times our caring therapists can help, contact us today!