The 5-Minute Fix to Any Bad Day

We all have bad days. Your alarm doesn’t go off. Your breakfast bar becomes smooshed after you sit on it in the car. You get stuck in deadlock traffic. And, to top it all off, you are callously berated for being late to work. Things happen—sometimes we have little control over our circumstances. But what do you do in these tough times? Do you just grumble and lean into the negativity that your life is pushing? Or do you launch a positivity counterattack?

Don’t just settle into a bad day. You attract whatever mood you are putting out. If you’re angry and negative, only more negativity will find you, while if you smile in spite of the difficulties, positive things will begin to take shape. The truth is, you can turn any bad mood around in relatively little time if you set your mind to it. What is the secret, you ask? The secret is immersing yourself in something you love. That’s right. All it takes is 5 minutes—5 minutes of complete and utter love. Find something that always make you smile, whether it’s your favorite song, a steaming cup of hot cocoa, a brisk jog or your favorite poem. Whatever it is, completely immerse yourself in that for 5 minutes. Do not wallow over your bad day—sink yourself into this positive activity. Blast your favorite song on your headphones or in your car and sing along and dance. Allow happiness to flood you and keep worries at bay for 5 minutes. Most of the time, this small break from the negative cycle is enough to turn your day and your mood around.

Can’t access your go-to favorite things? There is another simple action that can turn a bad mood swiftly around. It lies in the magic of your smile. By forcing yourself to smirk or smile for a few minutes, your emotions will start to follow suit.

“Charles Darwin first posed the idea that emotional responses influence our feelings in 1872. ‘The free expression by outward signs of an emotion intensifies it,’ he wrote.” (Scientific American)

By exhibiting happiness on the outside, it can cause you to feel the actual emotion within. Studies have shown that those who have had botox injections, which make frowning difficult, experience more happiness than those studies who did not receive injections and could frown freely. So, if you’re having a rough time, keep a grin on your face and everything will feel a heck of a lot more manageable.

Fitting something you absolutely love into your schedule is a quick remedy to invigorate any bad day. It’s very similar to meditation, in fact. Try to make it a regular practice—much like (and perhaps in replacement of) your 3 o’clock caffeine or sugar fix. Whether you’re smiling, dancing, sketching or indulging in a small mocha, you will be amazed at how powerful 5 minutes of pure positivity and love can be.

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Philippa P
Philippa Powersabout a year ago


William C
William Cabout a year ago


W. C
W. Cabout a year ago

Thank you.

Peggy B.
Peggy B1 years ago

Great tips. Thanks for sharing.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

dagmar karin dag
dagmar karin dag2 years ago

Muchas gracias

James Maynard
James Maynard2 years ago

Good advice - thanks!

Monica R.
Monica R2 years ago

Yes, you can do it!

Donna T.
Donna T2 years ago

thank you

Amanda M.
Amanda M2 years ago

I call bad days "Alexander days" after the children's book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." Everybody's had days like that (hell, 2014 was an Alexander YEAR for us-long story there!), and it's nice to be able to put a name to it.

Last year, we got another cat after a 5.5-year "drought." Our older daughter's friend's cat had kittens, and Nichola got the first pick of the litter. Enter Raven, who almost got the name Toothless. Yes, after the dragon. However, I'd always liked the name Raven for a black cat, so that's what he got named. Although since my husband is a Ravens fan, football season this year almost gave the poor cat a complex because every time my husband screamed, "Touchdown, Ravens!" the cat thought he was getting yelled at! But it's been worth it-Raven makes me laugh when he does something zany (which since he's still mostly kitten, means just about everything he does fits the bill), and that combined with his being a cuddlebug is a terrific balm to a bad day.

And yes, I'm not above blasting a favorite song on the radio in my truck-it may damage my hearing down the road, but it's terrific for boosting the mood and restoring my sanity!