Bad Day - 5 free and quick Things to make your Life better.

March 3, 2024

Bad day, help, inspiration, positive vibes
What's making a rough day better?

Wow! Morning rain and traffic jams, train cancelled, boss grumbles at you, headache throbs, annoying WhatsApp note in the family group, account balance at half mast, no time for the really nice things, again—wait a minute!


In a world full of consumption, stuff, and opportunities, we often think in moments like these that only Uber Eats, an evening of binge-watching, heavy online shopping, or the next vacation in three months can make up for it. Sure, you can do that—sometimes.


But there are many other quick and free ways to get off the whirling merry-go-round of everyday madness and give yourself a moment to breathe and smile. Without a lot of fuss, without spending a lot of time, without spending a lot of money—and often with amazingly beautiful long-term effects that a one-off pizza delivery simply can't match. Not even with double parmesan.


By living out of a suitcase, meeting people from all over the world, and experiencing first-hand poverty, resourcefulness, and other ways of life, I have learned how little it takes for people to find happiness. I am tired of complaining about rain clouds at a high level while somewhere there are people engaging in war or taking refuge in unnecessary consumption. Here are five ideas that may quicky make your everyday life happier and they don’t cost a cent. Ready?

1. Ten things of gratitude

Thankful, gratitude, happiness, positive thoughts after a bad day, collect thoughts
Fill al glass with beautiful momente ("Sun on the balcony")

Life is like headlines: We only look at and remember the disasters: this was crap, that took too long, these things were exhausting, something was corrupt.


My dad once told me: "I've heard that [German soccer manager] Jürgen Klopp thinks of ten things every evening that he's grateful for that day."


Something that has stayed in my head for a long time. Ten things, every day. I'm lying in bed in the dark. I remember a little blue bird that came to my new feeder for the first time today. That was great. I am grateful. That night, everything freezes outside, and I am especially grateful to have a garage, so I don't have to spend ages scraping ice in the freezing cold. A friend writes to tell me that that her mother is finally feeling better. There is still a single packet of my favorite pudding mix in the supermarket just before closing time. Friends in Nepal experience a minor earthquake—but there, luckily, is no catastrophe in Germany. And slowly, with every little thought, I feel lighter, I begin to smile more. Suddenly the whole day appears in a different light. I feel a bit humble and very content.


And if you also write down just one of these thoughts on a piece of paper every day and put it in a jar, in a year you will have 365 great memories and positive moments to review at the end of the year.


You can find more of my thoughts on gratitude here: What a beautiful Day! How being grateful makes you happier.

2. Music makes life go round

Golden Gate Bridge, SquirrelSarah, music, freedom, happiness tips for a bad day
Music is freedom - feel it!

Few people remain completely untouched by music. It can remind you of a summer with friends, of your youth, of an exam period, of a funeral, of a certain person, or of an attitude toward life. It can sometimes make us sad—or it can give us energy.


If you're not feeling well or if you're feeling tired and burned out, look for a particular song on Spotify, on your phone, or on the CD shelf. Something you know which will remind you of a past good moment, and which will give you strength.


Sing loudly in the car, or in the shower, dance mindlessly around the living room, or just throw yourself on the couch and just listen without doing anything else. Close your eyes and let go. Mamma Mia, Backstreet Boys, Sia, Rolling Stones, whatever. This is your moment.

3. Drink tea and look outside

Think, dream, daydream, tea time, positive vibes, calm down, awareness, bad day, ideas, help
Have a drink and take a moment

Where do we usually look—at screens, at books, or at newspapers? And do we ever consciously enjoy something without quickly checking our cell phones, reading up on something, or doing something else?


Here's a great idea: put down your cell phone, tablet, or magazine. Turn off the computer or TV at a moment when you're normally glued to it. Grab a glass or cup and make yourself something to drink. Tea, coffee, cocoa, juice, soda. Just something. Sit facing a window and do nothing for ten minutes except look outside with your drink in your hand. What do you see? I mean, what do you really see? Someone walking past with a baby carriage? A funny sticker on a car, a bird in the sky, leaves floating in the air, the colorful shutters across the street, the crocuses in the gutter, clouds that look like animals,...?

Try writing down on a piece of paper the things you see—suddenly the small, familiar world outside the window becomes a hidden-object hunt.

As Swedish bestselling author Astrid Lindgren, said: "... and then you have to have time to just sit there and look in front of you." Just like that.

4. The motivation to go outside

It's the small things, happiness, positivity, outdoor love, motivation on a bad day, good vibes
Find the little things outside

Be honest, we all know that exercise is good for our health and mood, but who feels like walking around outside in winter after a long day at work or even on a day off when it's dark and raining or snowing? Humans are often cozy sloths. But did you know that sitting for long periods of time can be more harmful than smoking? That just 150 minutes of exercise a week can prolong your lifespan?


Now we think: "I don't have time for that!" Really? 21 minutes a day for a walk versus probably spending several uninterrupted hours watching a TV series, movies, or Reels and TikTok videos without realizing how an entire afternoon or evening is slipping away?


Some people have a dog that forces them to go out. I'm not big on dogs, but I do have a camera that makes every little walk so much more meaningful and fun. Even a cell phone camera is enough. Suddenly you're no longer walking grumpily around the block just because you feel you are forcing yourself to move. You start looking for details. You discover little things that you had missed before: Light and shadow, berries in a bush, decorations on the exterior of a house, cracks in the asphalt, house numbers, doors, windows, tree bark, etc. My boyfriend and I sometimes set ourselves a specific theme for a photo challenge, after which we present our best pictures to each other. Maybe "spring," "sunlight," raindrops," or "stones and wood." Come up with something, upload it somewhere, share it with friends.

Just go outside.

5. Five minutes and five years

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Is it worth the anger? Probably not!

Yes, everyday life can be annoying. We get angry or sad, mull over conversations that never even happened, curse someone, are not able to sleep at night because something still pisses us off or even frightens us.


I once read somewhere that if something won't matter in five years, don't waste more than five minutes worrying about it now.


And I had to laugh at how simple and true this sentence is. How often have I driven myself crazy over something that I could laugh about after just 5 days or weeks? About something I had completely forgotten in five years.


Now, every time I begin to overthink a situation or get angry about something, I try to stop and ask myself: "Will this still be important in five years' time?" Frequently I am forced to admit: “No, it's not that important.” So, I stay annoyed for another minute and then try to let it go. With composure and the knowledge that it's not worth it, and that in five years—or much sooner—it won't matter at all.


Nothing I have presented here costs money or even a lot of time. Sometimes five, sometimes 15, sometimes 21 minutes a day. But the positive effects last much longer and can change us in the long run, making us more grateful, more relaxed, happier, and perhaps even healthier.


We swap the time that takes something away from us for time that gives something back to us. Less grumbling, less idle consumption, less time getting lost in distractions—and more awareness and more happiness.


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