When you are having a bad day know 4 ways to turn sour lemons into lemonade

Sometimes life gives us lemons. As Beyonce's video points out, it's up to us to make lemonade. I recently had a run in with some lemons during a two week experience in SE Asia, and it really got me thinking. I could see the trip as not accomplishing most of my goals and desires, or I can see it for the good experiences I had and be appreciative. You too can choose to see the positive in what could be a negative. Below I’ll give you some ideas how to do this.

Most of us have probably had those less than fabulous travel experiences -it happens. On this occasion it was one thing after another and many of the things we had intended to do were just not possible. Hotter than average weather, a long bout of stomach issues (think most of the trip), delayed flights, a gross hotel bathroom, and a myriad of other things put a bit of a damper on a much anticipated and researched trip. By the time we were on our way home (waiting for a delayed flight until nearly midnight), it all got me thinking of what I did appreciate about the trip. The things I was able to see, to do and the amazing foods I tasted. Hence this post is for both me and you because we all have those 'bad days' in the office, on the weekend, etc. that seem never ending. All you really want is to do is wake up on the other side of the bed and start over.

What can you do to help stay positive during those trying hours or days? 


1.    As mentioned above, think of what has gone well for you. Even the small stuff counts here! Maybe a previously delayed train happened to pull up as you walked into the platform. In my case an example would be seeing an otherwise unreachable lagoon by canoe, which was something I’ve really been wanting to do. Keep these items closer to the top of your mind, whether there was one or 5 in your day.

2.    Try to take life as it comes. Some things may just not work out. However, other doors will open to you. Just go with the flow - mostly. I say mostly because I happen to eat frequently and refuse to get on hour+ transportation with no food. I know I will be unhappy if I do so, and go out of my way to ensure this is possible in most cases. I say this from a high speed bullet train on which I just finished eating my boxed lunch from the station. It was quite good actually! They take food seriously here in Taiwan.

3.    Be present in the here and now and appreciate it! I may be on a high speed train stuck in the middle seat for 1.5 hours next to a guy who keeps getting phone calls, but I can still look out the window to see what is interesting. Take the time to notice what is nice around you (watching the towns and rice paddies go by) instead of focusing on the irritations.

4.    Find some way to make your scenario a little bit better. While on my trip I desperately wanted to see the tropical jungle, monkeys of any sort and elephants. However I do not believe in riding the elephants, so my tour choices were nil. Instead I found a taxi who knew where to take me, rented a guide and went for the hike on my own. I saw no monkeys or elephants at all, though gibbons were hidden all around and calling away up in the giant trees. I did see a giant lizard, a gibbon re-hab facility, many other creatures, beautiful jungle scenery and waterfalls all to the music of cicadas and gibbons overhead.

It's easy to dwell on the negative of your day and continue getting bogged down by the pile up. Instead, try pulling yourself up by the bootstraps a bit and see things in a different light. It’s not realistic to get chewed out for something and try to turn that into a positive, but most likely there was something (small or not!) that was positive during your day or yesterday. Roll with it and make something sour lemons into a sweet treat like lemonade!

Do you have your own ways of making those tough days easier? Let us know!