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You ever wake up to a nightmare of a day? The type of day that makes you want to get back into bed, pull the covers over your head and try again tomorrow?

Maybe your inbox is flooded with people who need something from you, your children are sick again, or your boss is unhappy with your work. The morning felt promising, but with each passing moment, you’re starting to lose hope.

I’ve had a day like that one recently. But surprisingly, by the end of it, I had a renewed sense of positivity, a feeling of hope and possibility and even gratitude for what transpired.

How did I transform that hovering gray cloud into a rainbow?

1. Keep to your goals.

It’s easy to lose sight of what you want and value in life. When experiencing hurt, rejecting, or a feeling of abandonment, you can temporarily forget your long-term goals. Whenever I am disappointed with the way things turn out, I pretend I have tunnel vision and focus solely on my purpose. Allowing everything else to melt away in the background as detractors from that purpose helps me to divert my attention and energy on what really matters. When I’m especially down, I remember what Sidney Poitier says on Oprah’s Master Class:

“I truly, truly try to be better tomorrow than I was today.  And I mean better, as simply a better human being, not a better actor, not a better anything, but just a better human being. That will please me well, and, and when I die, I will not be afraid of having lived.”

2. Remember it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it.

Your co-worker could call you a hurtful name. A employer could fire you. You could lose the love of your life. Anything is possible in life. And while it can feel unfair to have to go through it, it’s not personal. Hardship, difficulty, and suffering happen to everybody. But the ones that rise above it have a secret. They won’t give up their power to circumstance. They find the opportunity in the un-welcomed event and won’t allow more suffering to feed onto itself.

In The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have, Mark Nepo says:

“I offer what has surprised me in my pain: that life is not fair, but unending in its capacity to change us; that compassion is fair and feeling is just; and that we are not responsible for all that befall us, only for how we receive it and for how we hold each other up along the way.”

3. You may see cracks in that sidewalk, but a weed sees an entrance.

What seems horrible, intolerable, and unbelievable, could be a door to a better life. It may not seem that way. The thought could make you laugh. But it is very possible that what feels like the worst thing that could ever happen to you could be your breaking open to another life. Often you will hear about a person who dealt with cancer or chronic illness learned how to slow down a little, embrace the moment and spend time with those they love most. Maybe the rejection you received was a call to push you in a different direction, a move to try something else. Maybe the loss of a friendship taught you who you really need in your life. If you open your eyes to alternative possibilities, you may see something growing in the cracks of your life.

4. Express yourself.

Sometimes the only way to transform negative energy into a positive one is to let yourself fully feel the emotion through self-expression. For me, this means writing, exercising and painting. For you, it could mean meditating, talking with a loved one, or just having a good cry or laugh. Give yourself the time and space to let yourself experience how bad you feel. Letting all that energy flow will help you to heal and move on faster.

5. Be kind to others even if you don’t feel like it.

When you’re in a crappy mood, your energy is contagious. It’s tempting to let out your worst feelings onto a loved one. But doing so, will only keep the cycle of negativity going. Instead, try these 35 Little Acts of Kindness  to feel better immediately.

Brandi-Ann Uyemura is a freelance writer who specializes in psychology and self-help articles. She has a MA in Counseling Psychology and writes for several publications and websites. You can get more information about her here. She also blogs about inspirationwriting inspiration and psychology.

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