Which comes first, a good mood or a good day? Does your day have to be going well first in order for you to have a good day, or do you decide what kind of day you are going to have?
It is easy to be in a good mood when everything is going your way, but I am a believer that you have a lot to do with the direction your day takes based on the tone you set first thing in the morning and how you frame the events of your day as it progresses.
Many years ago a man used the phrase “Make it a great day!” with me and I fell in love with it. The line hit me in a profound way.
The usual saying, “have a great day” felt cliché and weak. The simple substitution of the word “make” put the power directly into my hands.
It told me that I was the one in control of how my day would go and that the circumstances of the day actually held little or no bearing. From that day forward, I decided that it was going to be my intention to MAKE everyday a great day.
In 1998, I became a student of positive psychology and learned that the methods I had been using to MAKE my days great had some scientific roots. Barbara Fredrickson, a leader in the field of positive psychology and the author of Love 2.0 calls this the broaden and build theory of positive emotion.
She explains that positive emotions are like nutrients, and just like fruits and vegetables, we could all benefit from a good dose each day.
The theory states that when we feel positive emotions, the good feelings open us up to new ideas and experiences. We, in effect, broaden our own horizons.
Once we are open and feeling good, we can then build on our positive emotions to build momentum so that things keep going in the right direction.
Think of a snowball of positive emotions rolling down a hill. The more genuine positive emotions you can access, the more momentum you have literally propelling you towards having a good day.
Notice I said genuine emotion. This is not about pretending. And, as a word of caution, keep in mind this works in reverse as well.
lf you hold on too long to negative emotions you will build your momentum in the direction of having a crappy day and If you are anything like me, you’ve experienced that too.
The question then becomes how do you access these positive emotions on a regular basis to ensure you are creating a good day?
Not every day is exciting and action-packed. Laundry needs to be done and deadlines must be met, and yet I have found with a little practice you CAN MAKE every day or at least most days great if you want. You can have some fun and create a little magic along the way.
Listed below are ten methods for MAKING it a great day. Use all or some or a combination. You will know it’s working when you start having more great days. It’s that simple.
1. Turn Off The TV
End and start your day with conversation, a card game, music, journaling, or silence. The news and drama played out on television is not a foundation on which to build your day, nor to aid you in getting restful sleep.
For some, watching television can be upsetting and we end up giving our power away to something we have no control over. My advice is to monitor your television consumption and to pay attention to how what you are watching makes you FEEL.
2. Set Your Tone Upon Waking
Spend the first half hour of your day setting your tone and finding your vibe for the day. You get to choose your vibe each day and most people take this for granted, not realizing how much influence they have on choosing their direction.
Read something that makes you feel good and elicits positive emotions. Listen to an uplifting book on audio, look at pictures of loved ones; appreciate the comfort of your bed and home.
Do whatever it takes to start your day focusing on moving your energy and feelings in a positive direction.
I know, I know, you’ve heard this one before. I won’t belabor the point, but even a short meditation of five to ten minutes can help you access positive emotions and a calm mindset.
There are many apps for this. I use in Insight Timer. You can choose a guided meditation or simply the sound of silence.
4. Motivate With Music
Create playlists for the feelings you want to evoke. If you want to feel creative; play a creative playlist. If you want to feel confident, play a confident playlist.
Be purposeful about the music you listen to and you will find your mood going in the same direction. Music is a powerful mood enhancer and can easily shift our emotions towards the kind of day you’d like to have. If you feel the urge to dance, go for it.
5. Don’t Use Social Media First
While I love my social media, I know that it’s more important for me to set my tone in the morning than to go down the social media rabbit hole when I first get up.
Once you’re feeling fabulous and energized and have set a good tone for your day, you’re a better mind space to go on social media and will be able to get off without losing too much of your day. Don’t roll your eyes at me, just try it.
6. Tap Into Gratitude and Appreciation
It is impossible to stay in a bad mood when you flood your mind with all the things you are grateful for. There are many ways to practice gratitude. I’m a fan of writing it down.
Writing engages all your senses and helps you tap into the feeling of appreciation and helps you relive your positive feelings all over again.
The positive FEELING is what you are looking for. Once you have stirred genuine positive emotion in yourself, it’s easier to continue to look for more things to appreciate as your day unfolds.
7. Guide Your Thoughts All Day Long
Upon waking, tell yourself that you plan on MAKING it a great day. Tell yourself that no matter what comes your way today there is a solution and that you’ve got it covered.
Most people choose the clothes they will wear each day, they choose what they are going to eat, and yet they don’t choose what they are going to think about or say to themselves. They scoff at the idea of talking to themselves and write it off as not significant.
I can only tell you it works, but you won’t know the power of this until you’ve tried it. My advice is to try it on for 30 days and you be the judge.
8. Use Visual Reminders
I love quotes and pictures that elicit strong emotions in me. I hang them everywhere. When I open my medicine cabinet, my closet door or kitchen cabinet, I’m greeted with quotes.
Get creative and hang inspiring quotes and images where you will see them and use their inspiration as a mental boost to help you focus your thoughts and emotions on what you want and the direction you want to go.
9. Doodle and Write It Down
Either before you go to sleep or upon rising, write or draw about the day you anticipate. You can write in paragraph form, make a list or draw a picture. I use all three depending on my mood.
I write down “today is going to be fabulous. I’m going to laugh more and have more fun. Everything about today is going to be easy, playful, and fun.”
I love to create playful and fun doodles or cartoons using my colored markers. Engaging in that way makes me feel like a child too.
10. Spend Time In Nature
Nature is powerful in that it is so alive, and yet so peaceful at the same time. It’s the one thing that will help you clear your mind and find relief from the constant mind chatter that nags and pulls at you all day long.
Can you start or end your day in the woods, escape to your favorite park at lunch, or simply take a walk around the block during the day? Nature is magical. Get outside more.
Try on one of these surefire methods and then see if you are able to shift the way you feel and MAKE it a great day!
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