We all have what we deem “bad days”. Even that cheery, smiley secretary at the doctor’s office who is always doing “just super” and you wonder who spiked her Cheerios.

Sometimes we have even worse days. Have you heard of Murphy’s Law? It is based on the premise that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

You know those days…

Your alarm clock wasn’t set properly so you wake up 20 minutes late. Your 3 year old is having a meltdown over which dress to wear today. As you’re leaving the house, you spill some of the coffee you didn’t have time to drink yet on your tan jacket. No time for changing. You get your daughter all loaded in the car seat only to then turn the key to the ignition and…nothing. The battery is dead. You fret in the driveway, the rain beating down on the windows. You have to call a few friends in the area before someone can come pick you up and thus your daughter is late to preschool which she is not impressed by, and you are 30 minutes late to work.

All of this before 9am!

Then, because you are expecting more negative things to happen they actually do happen- or so you perceive. Your brain has a natural negativity bias and the events thus far does not help the bias.

But what if you intercepted this bad day at some point? What if I told you that you have the ability to turn this day around? It’s about putting things into perspective and training your mind to find the positives and asking yourself what you can learn from your experiences.

It may be tempting to call yourself an idiot for not setting your alarm, but what good is that now, after the fact? Besides, those extra z’s were what your body needed.

Instead of assuming the day is going to be terrible when your daughter wants to wear a velvet dress in a sweltering day smack in the midst of summer, it might be more helpful to take a step back and think “okay, is this the worst thing in the world?” The answer is undoubtedly no, and if it’s yes then you are engaging in catastrophic thinking. Be grateful for the spunk and confidence your daughter has now before it’s replaced with insecurity. Let her wear her velvet dress to preschool- learn her lesson that she can’t wear winter clothes now- and pack a change of more suitable clothing after she learns such lesson. Instead of battling and feeling flustered, the interaction might leave you feeling curious as to how her day will go rather than irritated at her lack of reason.

You can remind yourself that it’s not like you regularly show up looking like a slob; plus it’s really only a dribble and the coffee kind of blends in with the jacket.

You learned (albeit, in an annoying way) from the car experience to simply not turn the light on in the car because you forget to turn it off. Thankfully your friend was able to pick you up.

And yes, it sucks that you were 30 minutes late to work and you will be making up those 30 minutes on your lunch hour today but at least you didn’t have a 9am meeting scheduled with anyone and it was just emails to respond to.

The day could very well continue following Murphy’s Law- if you let it. When you get irritated with everyone, when you assume that the worst is yet to come and dread the day, how good can it possibly get? Realistically, it was not the most ideal morning but by approaching the day with irritability and weariness, you are dampening possibilities that it might get better. Perhaps while you were waiting for your friend to come pick you up, you and your daughter had an amazing experience playing imaginary rain parade princesses that may not have happened if you weren’t in this “bad” day.

So maybe it’s harsh to judge an entire day as good or bad or whatever- in 24 hours there has to be a multitude of emotions involved. My advice is to be positively realistic: have bad moments, not days, and move on with the intention to make the next moment better.

About the Author

Tara Richardson is a Peer Support Specialist at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences in Whitby, Ontario. Her own personal journey through mental illness has led her to be a passionate and dedicated advocate for mental health recovery. Tara is an aspiring author who is in the (long) process of writing and editing her memoir compiled from journal entries beginning at age 11. Tara has a B.A. in Psychology, a diploma in Social Service Work, and a certificate in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Tara can be contacted at: tara_richardson913@hotmail.com Non-creepy fan mail gladly welcomed.