1. This is one day out of the approximately 28, 470 days that you (the average person) will be alive. If this one is a casualty to bad circumstance, know that probability is on your side that you will have another good day.
2. Look at the people around you (or, if there are none, think of those you know) and think about how many days they’ve wasted being unhappy. Look at the people with frown lines and those that are so into themselves they don’t even take the time to smile at strangers. If nothing else, strive to achieve a happier, thankful, and more peaceful sense of humanity for the sake of those that don’t in order to get past your own problems.
3. Whatever your unhappiness is contingent on at the moment, know that there is something else that you can make up for it. If a relationship has soured, if you are jobless, if you are overweight and unhappy, if you have test anxiety before a final, know that there is something else that you can look forward to once you stop thinking about it. You may have lost everything, but as long as you exist, there is potential. Take a walk, look at what’s around you without deflecting negativity or cynicism on it, and cherish the breath and breadth of life.
4. Don’t think about others that have it “worse.” There are too many people that trivialize their and others’ problems by saying things along the lines of, “You think your __ is bad? Think about __’s situation.” This does not solve any problem because there will always be someone that has a life worse off than you, and it will only make you feel more guilty about being self-loathing or self-pitying. Instead, dwell on people that have had success. Wonder how they were able to get from point A to point B, how they made it out alive and thriving, and impose those standards on your own life.
5. Do something that makes you happy (if only temporarily). If you are a binge eater or an addict or a chronic overachiever, think of something that makes you feel satisfied, and remember that voracity can’t be filled by material conquests (if you feel badly, don’t go for retail therapy or that container of cheese filled soft-pretzel bites). Go for real sustenance – a good write, a fast jog, calling an uplifting friend.
6. Instead of inaction in the face of life obstacles or despair, think of what your long term goals. A good friend once defined procrastination as a ‘weakness in the face of impulse’, not as a manifest of laziness. So remember what you want, and go for it. Stop choosing cheap consumer fodder over what you really want. Look past today, and envision yourself as what you could be. And go for it.