We are exhorted by personal development professionals, including me, to have a positive outlook, to remain optimistic, and to eradicate negative thinking. But let’s face it, these are tough economic times and there can be days when we struggle a bit, when we feel out of sorts, under pressure, or when we are just having a low energy day.

So what can we do? Do we write off 24 hours and put it down to being ‘just an off day’? We need to bear in mind that the day in question is a unique, one-off, never to be repeated opportunity. So let’s not simply consign that gift to the bin hoping that the next one is going to be better. Why not get on to the front foot (a cricket terms for my American friends) and try to pull the day around to our way of thinking?

'If you have a bad day in baseball, and start thinking about it, you will have 10 more'
Sammy Sosa

The easiest way of trying to break into a negative thought process is breaking the routine. This does not have to mean something that will really eat hugely into our time, especially if we are at work and things are weighing us down – it may only need the time it takes to have a coffee break. So instead of sighing, rocking back on our chair & wallowing in a hot drink:

a) Book something nice to do, a walk with friends, origami classes, a restaurant, a play, an art gallery…whatever we like doing. Do this not because it’s something to look forward to but because we will actually enjoy booking it.

b) E-mail a friend who perhaps we do not contact that regularly or ring or text an aged relative – just because we are having a bad day does not mean that we cannot make theirs. They’ll be delighted and it will rub off.

c) Go out of our way to be nice to a work colleague – again, someone we do not, ordinarily, have much contact with. They will respond and so will our mood.

d) We can make sure we are engaging in positive eye contact with those around us. We’ll have to concentrate more than usual to do this as we are not going to be in the best of moods but it will work.

Of course we have the voice in our ear telling us we do not have the time for any of this. The truth is that if we are having a bad day then we are going to be far more productive with our enthusiasm back on track – so a ‘time out’ will be time very well spent!

If all else fails then we can employ a ‘go-to setting’ that can help us back to a brighter outlook - even on the darkest days – GRATITUDE. Write a gratitude list: 10 things for which, that day, we are truly grateful. I do not mean negative gratitude: ‘thank goodness that guy has been moved out of my office!’, but rather ‘I’m so grateful to have a good space within which to work’. But for it to work we have to do it like we mean it.

Turning around a tough day may not be easy but it can be done. Ultimately it’s how we think about things - how we react to events and people - that decides whether or not we are having a good day. The quality of our day is governed by what we choose to think about. On those days when our positive thinking may need a little kick-start, and we all get them, it’s up to us. We should bear in mind that when negativity seems to have the upper hand we can choose to inject some of the good stuff! Positivity is just as infectious so let’s catch some and make sure others do too!

Alan Keyse

Author's Bio: 

"In becoming a life coach & speaker, I was in search of beauty, peace and fulfilment, and in helping others to reveal it in their own lives I quickly found it in my own".

I think I have the best job in the world: I am invited to hear dreams and help manage change, and I regard it as an immense honour.

After three decades as a sales executive for Italian corporations, I am able to apply my experience in business & with people to help my clients. It's exhilarating to play a part in transforming people's belief in their own abilities, in their potential, & in themselves.

I facilitate remarkable people with the structure they need to implement change in both a personal and business environment.

My role as a coach takes me all around Europe but I am equally at home in my study in Hertfordshire, near London.