How to Refocus When You’re Having A Bad Day
Just like anyone, I’ve had my share of bad days. I’ve also had my share of days that seemed bad in the moment but in hindsight, they only felt bad in the moment.
When things don’t go as planned and my day seems to be getting further and further away from ideal, I’ve noticed that the thoughts I choose in those moments are the key to how I perceive the rest of the day, as well as how I perceive the situation itself. If I allow my thoughts to keep going in the same negative pattern, the rest of my day will be spent feeling frustrated, worried, or even angry, and whatever situation I’m in – big or small – will seem more and more overwhelming.Are you letting one bad moment ruin your whole day? Click To Tweet
I used to do this all the time; I’d allow my worries or frustrations to run away with me and keep me captive for the rest of the day or for several days (or, let’s be honest, several months) in a row. All of the worry and frustration would build up and cloud my view of what was really going on, and before long, I wasn’t even focused on the situation itself, I was just focused on how I felt about the situation.
Learning to Refocus
One time, I’d convinced myself that a friend was upset with me about something we had been discussing, all because I had read between the lines of her email to me. After praying over the situation and surrendering it to God (which is what I should have done in the first place!), I reached out to talk with her only to discover that the whole thing had been a misunderstanding. I had stressed and worried about our conversation for days leading up to it, and by the end of our call, we were laughing and talking on an even deeper level than before. I had allowed my worry to hold me hostage for a few days instead of just praying about it and talking with my friend right away.
Another time, God directed me to move to a location that wasn’t my ideal choice. Instead of giving the situation to Him right away, I stayed angry and confused for several months because I couldn’t understand why He was asking me to give up a wonderful city, job, friends, and church to move and start all over. Again, after I finally surrendered to Him, He blessed me with amazing new opportunities in my new location, and I would’ve missed it all if I had allowed my negative, disobedient mindset to continue.
I’ve finally learned that when something unexpected pops up and threatens to ruin my day, whether it’s something big or small, if I take a minute to stop and refocus, the rest of the day becomes much easier to handle, and the situation I’m facing doesn’t seem as hard or scary as it did at first.
2 Questions To Ask When You Have A Bad Day
To get my focus back on what’s important, I’ve learned to ask myself two questions that will bring my focus back around when my thoughts start to wander off track. These questions work for big, intimidating situations as well as small, insignificant situations (that totally seem a thousand times bigger in the moment).
1.) “What really matters here?”
At the end of the day, no matter how frustrating, inconvenient, or scary a situation may be, I’ve had to learn to bring my thoughts and attention back to what really matters: God and His glory being displayed in my life. This question has been a huge game changer for me in keeping every situation in perspective and turning my focus back to God and my ultimate life purpose of bringing Him glory the best I can in each circumstance.
If I had asked myself this question when faced with my potential friend-drama situation, I would’ve been able to remind myself that what really matters is that I have a loving, Christ-like attitude, and that I seek to glorify God and honor my friend with how I handle the situation.
If I had asked myself this question when I was directed by God to move, I wouldn’t have wasted months being angry and confused, and I would’ve been able to receive the blessings He had waiting for me much more quickly.
2.) “Will this matter five years from now?”
This is a great question that really puts my current situation into perspective each time I ask it. Most of the time, the answer to this question will be no for me, and I’m betting it will be for you, too. Many times, we overreact in the moment and make things seem much bigger than they actually are, so reminding ourselves that we probably won’t even remember this incident, or if we do, it won’t have an effect on us, is a good way to keep us grounded and focused when we feel anything but.
I’d like to share a little bonus insight on this one that I’ve learned from my own experiences: if the answer to this question is no, then let it go. Don’t hold on to negative thoughts or feelings and allow all the worry or hurt or drama to keep churning within you. I can tell you that it isn’t worth it, and allowing those things to build up within you will only pull you farther and farther away from God and what He’s trying to do in your life at the moment. Pray over it and release it to God, and be sure to ask Him for His help, grace, and wisdom in letting go of the situation. (This is what I should’ve done with my friend situation!)
By the way, if it’s a big life-change and the answer is to this question is yes, the best thing to do is immediately start talking with God about it and process your thoughts, worries, fears, and hurt with Him right away, and keep talking with Him as you deal with the situation. (I didn’t do this when I had to move, but I should have. Please save yourself some extra frustration and pain and learn from my mistake – start talking with God about your situation right now!)
Don’t Let Bad Days Get You Down
So my dear sister in Christ, if you’re having a bad day and your thoughts are starting to get off track, I encourage you to give these questions a try and see if they help you refocus and get your mind back on the Lord and on what He’s trying to do in your life through your current situation.
We’d love to hear from you!
Share your thoughts on this post, or how you deal with bad days in the comments below.2 questions to ask yourself when you have a bad day. Click To Tweet
About the Author
Abigail Folds is an internationally trained and qualified Life and Faith Coach. She works one-on-one with women who are ready for growth and change, helping them get “unstuck” as they gain clarity and confidence in their lives and faith. One of her greatest joys is seeing women let go of their limiting beliefs and shine in all of their God-given potential each day. You can check out her blog, free resources, and coaching programs on her website at www.abigailfolds.com
This is one of those lessons I wish I would have learned long ago, and I’m working on teaching my children. Bad moments don’t make bad days unless we let them, and that’s what Satan wants. Love your questions. Thanks for joining us on Candidly Christian today!
“Bad moments don’t make bad days unless we let them” – yes! You’re so right; the enemy wants us to stay distracted and worked up instead of turning everything over to the Lord right away. I wish I’d learned that sooner in life as well. Thank you so much for having me, Heather!
Great wisdom here! I love those two simple questions to ask yourself. I am definitely going to put those into practice!
Thanks so much, Emily! I’m glad you found this article helpful, and please let me know how the questions work for you. They’ve been real game changers for me!
These are great questions! I’m finding a good reminder for me, too, is simply the phrase – choose joy. With that reminder it helps me to refocus and reframe the events of the day to more positive one.
I LOVE the idea of having a phrase to go back to in order to shift your perspective on difficult days, Melissa! “Choose joy” is a great one!
Good advice. I tend to get on with my day but I have a couple family members who really wrestle with disappointment in the moment.
Glad it was helpful, Alice!
First, thank you for your words of wisdom! After I asked the two questions, I felt it opened a deeper dialog with myself and God. I often feel like I get tripped up in the “right” way to approach God when In reality as long as I come with my whole heart I know he will guide me.
Thanks again for your insight and questions!
These questions will be so helpful in my next bad day. Changing our perspective is key to turning it around right away!
Yes, Julie – it really is all about perspective! Some days aren’t really bad at all; we just get caught up in a challenging moment and allow it to ruin the rest of our day. I’m so glad you found the questions helpful!
Yes! I actually wrote about this recently. My blog post was about not being too hard on yourself when you have those bad days- which is something that I totally struggle with from time to time.
That’s so important to remember Heather! Bad days come and we can’t blame ourselves or get caught up feeling guilty or being hard on ourselves. I’m so glad you’re talking about this too! I’m going to check out your blog post now.
I needed this today. Thank you so much!
You’re so welcome, Valerie! I’m glad it encouraged you.
Sometimes it really does take a conscious effort to change our focus. These are great questions to ask ourselves.
One bad moment can ruin the day, if we focus on that bad moment. Some days have lots of bad moments and some days have lots of good moments. Focus on the good and ask God for His guidance in dealing with the bad. 🙂