How to Stay Positive on Bad Days

It’s easy to let a really tough day drag you down. Whether it’s a tough performance review at work, or a longer commute than usual, or even something as simple as bad weather, sometimes a bad day just keeps getting worse. There’s no magic cure for avoiding bad days, but there are some strategies you can use to help keep yourself from dwelling on what’s going wrong.

Positive attitudes are powerful things. Having a positive attitude about mathematics has been shown to help students learn better. A positive focus can even help decrease anxiety. Fighting to stay positive is an important tool to work on and hone.

So how do you keep your positivity when a bad day strikes?


Learning to practice mindfulness is one of the best tools you can use to help shape the way you experience reality. You can’t meditate your way out of a car accident, but you can change the way you think about the accident. Rather than blame yourself for what has gone wrong, you can reshape your thinking to look at a bad situation as a learning opportunity, or a course correction.

Using meditation or mindfulness breaks on bad days is key to keeping yourself in a positive headspace. When you feel stress, anxiety, or just strong negativity starting to take over your emotions and thoughts, try to take a five or ten-minute break to re-energize and refocus.

Do something kind for yourself

Sometimes, when it feels like the world has it in for you, the best thing you can do is be your own biggest fan. Do something to cheer yourself up. If you’re having a bad day at work, resolve to take a little extra time for a hobby you love that evening, even if it means the dishes don’t get done. Spring for a fancy latte, decide to use rideshare for your commute home rather than the bus, buy tickets for that concert you want to go to.

Just do something for yourself that reminds you it’s not all doom and gloom. And it never hurts to give yourself something pleasant to look forward to after work, or after whatever activity is stressing you out.


Humans are social creatures. We need other people sometimes. Even if you’re more of an introvert, consider reaching out to a friend or family member on a bad day. Having strong social bonds helps us deal with and respond better to stress. Even if it’s just a phone call to a beloved aunt you don’t talk to enough, or playing video games online with an old college friend, find a way to reach out to someone on a bad day. You don’t necessarily need to vent about whatever has been going wrong. Just spending some time connecting and renewing your bonds with other people often helps us find new points of view of stressful situations, or helps us remember what’s really important in our lives.