One of Those Days: How to Bounce Back When Nothing Seems to Go Right

Sometimes, one of those days comes your way, and nothing seems to go right. Sometimes, it starts the minute you get out of bed. Other times, it sneakily creeps up on you midway through your day. Either way, once the cycle has begun, it’s difficult to break.


Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

One wrong after another seems to be the tone of the day. No matter what you do, it feels like the world is out to get you. Something that started as a small, unfortunate incident builds up into a day of misery as nothing seems to go your way. In the end, you feel defeated and helpless.

This happened to me a few weeks back. I had no idea it was coming because my morning and afternoon had been relatively smooth. Then, BOOM! Without any warning, it begins. I was in a competition with my horse Mickey and he had felt amazing in the warm-up. Even as I entered the ring and made my first halt and salute to the judges, things felt good. Then, as I urged him forward into the trot to start our test, he did a “Hell no!” maneuver spinning to the opposite direction.

It took a few seconds of erratic spinning and me trying to convince him there were no scary monsters anywhere before we were able to carry on to the next movement. I naively thought to myself “Well, that was odd but now we’re done with it”. Except we weren’t. The whole test was full of tension, more spins, and more spooking. Needless to say, we got our worst score ever and finished last.

I couldn’t do anything but laugh. Having had Mickey for over five years now, I know he occasionally has his drama queen moments like these. I shrugged my shoulders and thought, better luck next time. I imagined the bad part of my day was now over and I could just carry on. Needless to say, I was wrong.

I put the GPS on in my car to get myself home and it took me the completely opposite direction (which was also the most congested), adding one hour to my travel time. I got home starving and ordered take away from a new restaurant. It arrived an hour later than estimated, tasted awful, and gave me a tummy ache. I even spilled some of it on my shirt, staining it.

I realised this was an evening I needed a glass of wine to calm myself down. As I tried to open the bottle, the cork snapped in half and I had to push the rest of the cork into the wine bottle to get it open. When I (finally) poured some into my glass, half of it went on the table. I sat down to watch some Netflix to unwind, only to discover the internet was down. What on earth was going on?

In hindsight, this sounds hilarious. Just writing it makes it sound like a comedy sketch and it’s making me laugh out loud. In the moment, however, it doesn’t feel that great.

It feels like the whole world is against you. You feel helpless against the domino effect of one wrong after another. Often it’s not even big things going wrong. It’s the pile-up of multiple little annoying things that really make you snap. Dealing with one or two would be ok, but dealing with ten of them becomes increasingly frustrating. You feel stuck in a negative spiral of wrongs.

That made me question what is it that I can do to prevent this from happening again? How can you deal with it in a calmer, more effective way? How do you bounce back into a positive place again? How do you break the negative spiral and get the universe back on your side?

After reflecting, exploring, and testing a few approaches, these are the tips I will be following the next time one of those days comes my way.

1. Pause – and rebalance yourself.

When things start to go wrong, it’s natural for you to feel frustrated and stressed. However, the more stressed you feel, the more likely things are to go wrong. That’s why the first step in breaking the cycle is taking a moment to stop.

Do whatever you need to do to pause, walk away from whatever is frustrating you, and rebalance yourself. Use your breath to calm your nervous system down and refocus your mind.

2. Get grounded in the present moment – rather than into the drama that your thoughts create.

Things going wrong isn’t what makes them bad. It’s how we choose to react to them that makes them bad. Yes, of course, you have a right to feel frustrated and upset when things don’t go as planned. However, there is no need to blow them out of proportion and turn them into something that they’re not. The more drama you bring into the situation, the worst it will get. Remind yourself that your thoughts and feelings about the situation aren’t necessarily a realistic representation of it. Take a step back and observe it rationally without judgment.

Did Mickey lose the plot? It doesn’t mean we are both failures. He is a sensitive soul and he didn’t like the hanging flower pots flying around in the wind. Besides, we won the previous competition (and the other two that followed). GPS took me the wrong route? That is not the world satellites having a go at me. The setting on my GPS was probably wrong. The tummy ache from my take away dinner? It could have been due to the stress I experienced in the day. The wine cork breaking in the bottle? It could be that I was so tired I was trying to rush it and hence clumsily snapped it.

And voila – there you have it. Maybe the universe isn’t out to get you after all.

3. Focus on what is going right.

I know. This is incredibly difficult, especially when you are in the moment in the midst of all these wrongs. It probably makes you want to scream and run the opposite directions – or you might even rather want to have some more wrongs than trying to do this. But, I still urge you to try.

Bringing gratitude into the picture in moments like these can help break the negative cycle and even bring a few giggles in. Lost control of the horse? At least I have one – and I’m incredibly blessed it’s Mickey because his talent, quirkiness, and sensitivity is what makes riding him so magical. The wine bottle not cooperating? At least I had a wine bottle in the fridge (my favourite is rosé ;) and I have no food intolerances so I can actually enjoy it.

Next time one of those days come my way, I’m going to bring up this blog post and re-read what I’ve just written – and act on them! I urge you to test these strategies out too.

I’d also love to hear from you. What are your favourite strategies for dealing with one of those days? Comment below and share your inspiration with the rest of the Happyologist readers.

With that, I wish you good luck in your adventures and until next time!

With love, light, and happiness,

x Susanna

P.S. If you want to make bouncing back into positivity easier than ever, you might enjoy my course 30 Days of Happiness. Sign-up now and you get 10% off :D

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