A famous saying in schools and workplaces goes, “Make it a great day or not. The choice is yours.”
While this quote is a bit too peppy for many people, the reality is that it’s true. The day you have can be as great or as awful as you decide it will be.
Sure, both amazing and horrific things can happen between the time you wake up and when you go to sleep. But ultimately, you’re the only one who can decide if those events are good or bad.
Still, it’s not always easy to choose to see the positive in things, especially when they’re difficult to get through or when anxiety is a natural part of your life. However, if you really want to have a great day, try these four things that you can do to overpower your mind and make it happen.
1. Be Gentle With Yourself, But Do Something
It’s great to have big goals and plans for the day. But sometimes, it’s challenging to get started on conquering them.
You can have a great day without jumping headfirst into crossing off tasks. Be gentle with yourself if you don’t feel up to the major stuff at first. If you had grand ideas of tackling the hardest things and getting them out of the way, but then they seem too overwhelming, start somewhere else.
Many times, the hardest part is the beginning. Once you accomplish a task, the chemical response in your brain sends dopamine, your happy hormones, throughout your body. The pleasure of crossing that item off your mental or literal to-do list feels so good that you want to keep on going.
As you build up your confidence, you’ll tackle harder challenges. This theory is one reason it helps to break complex jobs down into manageable milestones. For instance, instead of adding “clean the house” to your list, break it down into tasks you can check off.
“Mop the floors,” “wash the dishes,” and “fold laundry” are each measurable and can be tackled and crossed off. Ahh, that sense of completion when the dopamine hits you feels good, doesn’t it?
2. Don’t Future Trip
You’ve heard the saying, “Don’t borrow tomorrow’s troubles today.” Well, we say it another way: “Don’t future trip.”
Don’t get us wrong. It’s one thing to consider the consequences of your actions before you choose to do something. However, future tripping, or worrying about what could happen when there’s no justification for it, simply ruins today.
We’re all guilty of this, at least occasionally. The what-if cycle keeps us locked in many of our self-imposed obstacles. What if I take that job, and then get fired right away? What if I buy the car, and then I can’t make the car payments?
Unless those outcomes have a logical chance of happening, you’re future tripping. Make the step outside of your comfort zone. Do the thing. Today may be great because you did, and tomorrow? Well, whether you’re stressing about it today or not, it will show up.
3. Get Active
When you cross off tasks, your brain produces those feel-good chemicals, but they also happen when you’re active.
Sitting around moping when you already feel down is the ideal way to stay blah. You won’t stimulate the parts of your mind that fight the blues until you get moving!
Getting active could be as simple as hitting the mall and window shopping with a friend (or by yourself) or going to the gym.
If you only have a few minutes and you want the most bang for your movement, spend your time outside in the fresh air. You’ll get the Vitamin D your body needs, an invigorating wakeup, and the beauty of Mother Nature, which can make your day even better than if you’d gone to the gym.
4. Use Outside Sources
When you can’t fight through the fog and anxiety that sits in your brain, you might need outside help. There’s nothing wrong with this, as long as it’s safe and not putting you or anyone else in danger.
Outside sources could mean seeking help from a mental health counselor or calling a friend for support. It could also be something as simple as a prescription medication or medical marijuana.
If you choose the weed route, be cautious about the strain you use. Some cannabis strains are downers, while others reduce anxiety and stimulate you to get you through your day.
Fighting the morning doldrums can take determination, especially if your brain tells you stories about how difficult the day ahead will be. But with these simple tips, you can have a great day, regardless of the obstacles that come your day.