How to turn around a Crappy Day

We all have those days.

Nothing goes right, everybody pisses you off, and even the sunshine makes you mad cause you’re too grumpy to enjoy it. You may have been triggered by something specific, or maybe it just feels like your whole body is filled up with yuck and you don’t know why. I’ve been there many times, and I thought I would share my favorite tool for shifting my energy so I don’t have to waste a single ray of sunshine being grumpy :)

You can do this as a journaling technique, speak into a recorder (or to your dog), or have someone who can hold compassionate space ask you the questions. It’s best not to just “think” about the answers, because it won’t allow you to go deep enough.

Here are the 4 steps to the technique called “Inner Critic to Inner Coach”.

  1. I’m angry about...

    Let yourself go all out here. This is a purge of all the things that are pissing you off and rubbing you the wrong way. Don’t hold back because your anger “isn’t rational”, or “it’s not really that bad”. No one’s judging you here, and it’s perfectly normal that your inner 6 year old come out on this one. She needs a voice too, and the other 3 steps will guarantee that she won’t run the show when you’re all done.

  2. I fear that...

    See above, all fears welcome. It’s likely that some emotion will come up during this. As much as you are able, allow yourself to feel it, while still keeping an anchor in the here and now. Something like feeling your feet on the ground, holding on to a rock, or looking around the room and noticing where you are when you start to feel swamped. (If you want more tools for staying grounded in the midst of deep emotion, please let me know!)

  3. I request (from myself)

    This might be something like taking the rest of the day off, giving yourself a hug and and a little self soothing, scheduling a massage for the weekend - or it might be a request for patience, self-compassion, or inner strength. What do you need right now, or what do you need to know/learn from this?

  4. I love myself because

    This is when we get to step back into our adult selves and remember that we are inherently good people, that all good people have bad days, and that we can love ourselves through it. So get really specific. I love myself because I cared enough to do this practice. I love myself because I’m kind-of funny when I’m upset. I love myself because I’m really brave, and I keep showing up when things are hard. Really lean in to this and let yourself receive the love.

At the end, no matter what happened, take a moment to thank yourself for this. It might not seem like a big deal, but every time you choose to do a practice like this (instead of taking it out on someone else, or shoving it all inside...and taking it out on some chocolate chip cookies) you are rewiring your brain. Soon you’ll be able to see that all parts of you are “allowed” and that you have choice in each moment of your life.

The reason that this technique is so powerful is that we’re able to hear the parts of us that don’t often get a voice, and we know that it’s safe because there’s a container. We’re often so afraid of our anger and fear because we’re worried that it will swamp us, and that if we really listen- or even worse, say it out loud- that will make it true.

In reality, we all have many voices within us, and some are very young. When I’m having a crappy day, I often feel like Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day. And there is a good reason for that - the part of me that has “taken over” is about 6 years old, and she can’t think rationally or put things in perspective - but she really really needs to be heard. By the end of the process, I remember that I’m not 6 years old, and that I’m brave and strong and worthy and lovable and ultimately OKAY.

You are too, and I hope this helps you remember that on the days where you start to forget.

* I was told this technique came from Jack Canfield but I can’t find it online, so I’m sending gratitude and acknowledgement to whoever came up with it.