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Thirteen tips for dealing with a really LOUSY day

How to boost your mood when everything is going wrong

by Gretchen Rubin  |  16504 views  |  5 comments  |        Rate this now! 

8.) It’s a cliché, but things really will look brighter in the morning. Go to bed early and start the next day anew. Also, sleep deprivation puts a drag on mood in the best of circumstances, so a little extra sleep will do you good.

9.) Remind yourself of your other identities. If you feel like a loser at work, send out a blast email to engage with college friends. If you think members of the PTA are mad at you, don’t miss the spinning class where everyone knows and likes you.

10.) Keep perspective. Ask yourself: “Will this matter in a month? In a year?” I recently came across a note I’d written to myself years ago, that said “TAXES!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I dimly remember the panic I felt about dealing with taxes that year; but it’s all lost and forgotten now.

11.) Write it down. When something horrible is consuming my mind, I find that if I write up a paragraph or two about the situation, I get immense relief.

12.) Use the emergency mood tool-kit. For an emergency happiness intervention, try these tips for getting a boost in the next HOUR.

13.) Be grateful. Remind yourself that a LOUSY day isn’t a CATASTROPHIC day. Be grateful that you’re still on the “lousy” spectrum.

Check out Gretchen's blog for more tips:

About the Author

In her blog, The Happiness Project (, Gretchen Rubin recounts her daily adventures as she test-drives the wisdom of the ages and current scientific research about how to be happier.

Read more by Gretchen Rubin

5 comments so far...

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    Flag as inappropriate Posted by jeje116 on 2nd May 2012

  • Your tips are so helpful, thank you!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by LauraK on 28th February 2011

  • Exercise is my number one thing I like to do, especially when I have a lousy day. I go outside for a walk reach into the sky, and take a long deep breath. It gets me out of the house, and a real chance to put things into perspective. There is nothing else to distract you, phone, kids, husband, work are all at home. It just becomes my time and I believe there is no better medicine!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Paige W on 23rd February 2011

  • I am having one of those days today and was so tempted to get a nice big unhealthy lunch as a treat -- I read your article first and my figure will thank you for it. Great tips!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 4th March 2008

  • Wonderful suggestions, Gretchen. I have found #5 particularly valuable, learning from the good example my husband sets. Even a really bad day can be improved if something else, however small, goes well. Thanks for these tips!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Diane on 4th March 2008