The Happiness Connection  

You can beat the blues

Having a Bad Day? Let Me Help

When you think of having a happy life, what do you imagine?

Do you imagine yourself having bad hair days, annoying work colleagues, or waking up on the wrong side of the bed?

If your answer is a resounding no, you aren’t alone.

Many of us think that a happy life is one that contains nothing but goodness and positivity.

However, nothing could be further than the truth. Living a happy life has more to do with how you react to the challenges, and problems you encounter, than it does to avoiding them.

The joy of living is in the journey it takes you on.

A great deal of what happens in your life is out of your control. Even after a fantastic job interview, when you are sure you couldn’t have done anything more, you might not get hired.

You can’t control how the other candidates did, or the decision that was made. A bad situation for you isn’t necessarily a bad situation for everyone else involved.

Recognizing you are at the mercy of circumstances you can’t control, is a good way to begin your journey towards a happier life.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
— The Serenity Prayer

If you have no ability to change the situation, then don’t waste your energy trying. Instead, concentrate on how you are going to react to it. Are you going to wallow, and pout, or are you going to take the philosophical approach, and believe it wasn’t meant to be? 

It is all about choice.

I had an opportunity last week to put my beliefs into action, when I mysteriously found myself feeling low and unhappy. I couldn’t put my finger on what had caused my shift in feelings; perhaps it was a combination of fatigue, and the winter blues.

Knowing that negative emotions are normal was helpful. As my day was coming to an end when these feelings materialized, I put my favourite strategy into action, and slept on it.

Things almost always look, and feel, better after a good night’s sleep. But not this time.

When I woke up still feeling negative, I decided to put five more strategies to work. One might have done the trick, but I wanted to ensure that my mood got the boost it needed.

Walking in nature

It has been unusually cold lately, so I had no desire to go outside, even though I needed to walk my dog. My dog also thought it was too cold outside and wanted to stay home, but because I know that walking in nature boosts positivity, I insisted and we went out for a stroll.

I chose to go into a local park instead of walking the streets of our neighbourhood. It was chilly, but I definitely felt better for it.

Taking time for self care

Sometimes when you push yourself too hard, you can wear out. This is a prime time for the blues to attack. I decided to give myself a little bit of me time.

Instead of grabbing some lunch and eating it while I worked, I sat down and watched part of a Gilmore Girls episode. Yes, I know that I am late to the GG party, but better late than never. I enjoyed that visit into someone else’s life.


Writing down how you feel and reflecting on what is happening in your life, is very therapeutic. It is like venting to a trusted friend, who isn’t going to judge, or despise you.

Being grateful

This is easily integrated into your journaling, but it is important enough to be given its own status as a strategy. Gratitude has been shown to have a huge affect on how happy you feel. Even if your initial reaction is there aren’t any, find things to be thankful for.

This activity is one of the quickest ways to feel more positive, as it reminds you that even in the tough times, you have lots of good things going for you.

Seeking out social contact

Humans are social creatures; you are programmed to interact with others. Doing this gives you a huge boost of positivity. It can be difficult for some of you to choose to interact with others, especially when you are feeling low, but it is a great way to feel better.

You don’t need to talk about your mood, although share if it feels right. The fact that you are spending time with others will give you a boost of satisfaction that will make a huge difference to your emotional state. Just being where other people are, like a coffee shop, can boost your emotions.

Sometimes I think bad days are thrown at me to ensure I am practising what I believe. Knowing your life is designed to include a variety of emotions, is reassuring.

Remember, it’s how you react to the challenges of life, not whether you can avoid them that makes you happy. Try some, or all, of these techniques next time you are faced with a bad day, or a low mood.

More The Happiness Connection articles

About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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