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bad day at office

From the CEO to the guy who gets her coffee to the kid that makes that coffee, everyone has bad days. They’re a part of life, and when they involve your job, they can be particularly hard to get through. In a great Daily Muse post titled “Five Ways to Bounce Back from a Horrible Day,” psychology expert Melody Wilding offers some winning advice on how to press the reset button and avoid letting your terrible mood lead to terrible decisions. Read on and turn that frown upside down.

1. Look at What’s Really Going On — In the midst of a bad day, you might say something like, “I never do anything right.” This probably isn’t true, and as Wilding points out, you’re merely upset about one incident that doesn’t necessarily represent your entire career trajectory. Take a few minutes to get to the heart of the matter and separate your thoughts and emotions from the facts. What you’re really upset about is that bad meeting or missed deadline, not everything you’ve done in the last 10 years. “When you’re flustered, your mind is cluttered, but research shows that putting your feelings into words can put the brakes on your emotional response and help you process the situation from a more rational, calm perspective,” Wilding writes.

2. Don’t Do Anything Rash — Once you start spiraling, and the “pity party,” as Wilding calls it, is in full swing, you’re liable to act rash and do things that are counterproductive. Don’t do these things. Instead of getting wasted at the office happy hour or deleting a big chunks of that project that’s stressing you out, give yourself a certain amount of time to wallow and then look to bounce back. In really bad cases, you might need to go home and call it a day. The work will still be there tomorrow, and if you’re more refreshed, you’ll be better equipped to deal with it.

3. Connect With Others — No man or woman is an island, and isolating yourself in times of crisis isn’t helpful. On really, really bad days, see if you can find a friend to meet you for coffee or lunch. If the situation isn’t one you’re quite yet ready to talk about, and you’d rather not meet with someone, check out a favorite blog or website. The idea here is connecting with another human being on some level.

4. Lend a Hand — Generosity is a powerful thing, and when you do nice things for others, everybody wins. On your next bad day, pay it forward, as they say, by assisting a coworker, giving to a charity, or even helping the old lady in your apartment building carry in her groceries. The on-the-job altruism might have extra benefits, Wilding writes, as showing higher-ups you’re a team player is one way to make yourself seem “indispensable” to the company. “So, find ways to help your co-workers, put more effort into answering emails, and, in general, make yourself a resource to others,” she writes.

5. Treat Yourself (Within Reason) — It’s OK to get an ice cream sundae or maybe browse the racks at your favorite clothing store. Just don’t binge on four banana splits or drop a grand on a pair of boots. It’ll only make you feel worse.