How To Have A Good Day - And Every Day Can Be One!

Let Every Day Be A Little Better With Some Proactive Planning

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We all have good days and bad days. And while some good and bad days seem to just "happen" due to events beyond our control, we do have significant power in creating better days. Creating the inner and outer conditions that make a day feel "good" to us can ensure a more positive day, and one that may lead to more "good" days as we become happier and more optimistic.

Research shows that being in a good mood--experiencing greater amounts of what psychologists refer to as "positive affect," can create an upward spiral of positivity.

 This upward spiral can enable us to notice more opportunities and to have the confidence to go after them.  Going after more opportunities can empower us to build more resources in our lives that can make us more resilient to stress when we face challenges in life. When we're more resilient, we tend to experience more good moods, and the cycle continues.

While we'll always have ups and downs, and our "good days" often feel better when there are "bad days" to compare them to, there are steps you can take to relieve stress and promote happiness so that all of your days are a little better--or a lot. These simple tips can show how to have a good day, and make every day the best it can be.  Here's how.


Do What You Enjoy

One way to increase the likelihood that you have a good day is to include "gratifications," activities that you enjoy and that you are good at, that provide a sense of "flow", and that challenge you in a way that's stimulating and, well, gratifying.

Some people experience gratifications on the job, but if you don't have the type of job that supplies this, you can participate in hobbies or other activities you enjoy and find the same result--a lift in mood and a reduction in stress. Perhaps the best thing about gratifications is that they don't get old--the same gratifications can always bring a lift.


Add A Little Pleasure

Life's pleasures can add a quick lift to your mood, which can provide other benefits as well. There are many little pleasures you can add to your life to have a good day every day--tea, a warm bath, a walk in the park, etc. As long as you vary them (and enjoy some of them in moderation), pleasures in life can really brighten your day, every day.
Read more about enjoying pleasures in life.


Stay In The Here And Now

Often, bad days come from a buildup of stress. For example, if something throws you off-balance in the morning (an early-day stressor, or rumination over something that happened days before), your stress response will likely become triggered, which can cause you to react to events throughout the rest of the day from a stressed mindset rather than from a relaxed one. This can make everything else you experience during the day feel more stressful, too. Staying in the here-and-now by practicing mindfulness can act like a "reset" button when you're having one of those days, and help relieve stress.
Read more about practicing mindfulness.


Cultivate Laughter And Joy

Most people would agree that experiencing joy and laughter are part of having a good day--and perhaps are even a defining feature!

That's why it's important to do what you can to create the conditions that foster joy for you--whether it's time with friends, indulging in a hobby, or doing whatever you find to be fun. Cultivating a sense of humor is also an important way not only to increase your chances of having a good day, but of coping more effectively with stress. After all, if you can laugh instead of panic, you can more easily focus on solutions.
Read more about laughing and having fun.


Maintain Balance

If your schedule is completely packed, one minor emergency can snowball into a stressful day of late appointments and feelings of overwhelm.

It's important--especially if you're a busy person--to stay balanced by scheduling in some flexibility and 'down time' if possible, and checking to be sure that everything in your schedule is important and necessary. Being busy is okay, but wasting time and energy on too many non-essentials can just lead to stress.
Read more about maintaining balance in your schedule.


Use Positive Psychology

The relatively new field of positive psychology is helping to increase understanding and awareness of how to increase our levels of happiness, meaning and enjoyment of life. Positive psychology also provides research-backed techniques for making life more enjoyable. Having an understanding of positive psychology research and strategies can be helpful in coping with stress as well as ensuring that every day is a good day. Learn more about positive psychology, and enjoy life more!
Read more about positive psychology.

Fredrickson, Barbara L.The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, Vol 56(3), Mar, 2001 pp. 218-226.

Garland, Eric L.; Fredrickson, Barbara; Kring, Ann M.; Johnson, David P.; Meyer, Piper S.; Penn, David L. Upward spirals of positive emotions counter downward spirals of negativity: Insights from the broaden-and-build theory and affective neuroscience on the treatment of emotion dysfunctions and deficits in psychopathology.Positive Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychology Review. 2010 30(7):849-864.

Qian, Xinyi Lisa; Yarnal, Careen M.; Almeida, David M.  Does Leisure Time Moderate or Mediate the Effect of Daily Stress onPositive Affect?  Journal of Leisure Research 2014, Vol. 46 Issue 1, p106.

Schiffrin, Holly H.; Falkenstern, Melissa. The impact of affect on resource development: Support for the broaden-and-build model. North American Journal of Psychology. 2012, Vol. 14 Issue 3, p569-584.