In 1972, a children’s book was published called “:Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” From the moment Alexander wakes up until the moment he goes to sleep, Alexander experiences unfortunate events causing him to feel overwhelmed and picked on by the universe. The purpose of the book is to teach kids that bad days happen, they are part of life and when you encounter them, take refuge; it will not last forever!
Once we become adults, we should be used to experiencing and overcoming challenging days.
But alas, by being an adult, our ability and willingness to cope with a bad day may be similar to that of a child’s, we just want it to stop!
So what can we do to stop a bad day while it’s happening? If we were children, we could throw a temper tantrum, cry and then take a nap.
Sometimes as adults, we may find ourselves slipping into old familiar coping mechanisms. We have adult temper tantrums, we take out our frustrations on a server or customer service provider. Perhaps we lash out and experience road rage.
What we should do after our temper tantrums is to cry and take a nap, just like we would do as small children.
But alas (again), we are adults now and we are expected to calmly and successfully keep our chill when all things around us seem to be spinning out of control.
Frequently, I find myself wishing I had a reset button I could press (or jump on) that would start the whole day over on a better, more positive note. Sadly, this is not an option. For now our only option is to live in the moment and experience the present as it unfolds.
Although we cannot press a button and reset, we can mentally take the time to start over and try again with a new mindset. Personally, I have found a catch phrase that not only makes me smile, but reminds me to let it go and move on. When I find myself spinning out and feeling like everyone is against me and all things are wrong, I pause, take a deep breath and I say, “Not today, Satan.”
I wish I could take credit for the clever slogan, but the history of this philosophy has deep roots originating from the vast information source that is the internet.
There is something about straight up telling Satan you have had enough bad luck or frustrating interactions with other humans for the day. I like to use the same tone of voice that I typically reserve for my sons when they are bouncing off the walls, “Hey Satan, not today!”
I even went as far as to order a shirt online with my favorite matra. Something about seeing the phrase “Not Today Satan” surrounded by beautiful flowers just really makes me smile and take a deep breath.
All kidding aside, every moment of every day is new. You haven’t experienced it yet and who’s to say that each new moment will be similar to the previous moments of the day, year or even your life. Each new moment is a gift and has the potential to be life changing. Not even Satan himself can take that away from you, the power to enjoy each moment is all yours.
So the next time you start to feel like Alexander, like nothing is going your way and the whole world is against you, take a moment to experience the moment.
If you want, you can pick a catch phrase to snap you out of your funk. Or you can take a deep breath, open your eyes and really see the beauty and uniqueness of each new moment.