Time Travel is a Life Hack

A mental exercise that gets me through bad days.

Time Travel is a Life Hack
Image created by the author. Both images picture the author, aged 10 (L) and 32 (R).

A mental exercise that gets me through bad days.

What do you do when you’re having a bad day?

I know it’s natural to sulk, scroll through social media for hours, and turn to our comfort food as ways to cope. But we all know, none of these really help.

So, what can we do to turn around a bad day, or at least make it a little more bearable?

In this article, I want to share a life hack that always works for me.

Time travel on bad days

When I’m having a terrible day, I go to some place where I have the time and freedom to be myself. Then, I close my eyes and imagine two other people are there in the room with me.

One is 6-year-old Anangsha, chubby and in her school uniform. Her hair is in pig tails, and she’s looking at me with wide-eyed curiosity.

The other is 70-year-old Anangsha, wrinkly and wise, with the contentment of a well-lived life shining bright in her smile.

In my imagination, I hold hands with both these versions of myself and look into their eyes. Then, I think what I’d say to the 6-year-old Anangsha.

From her perspective, the life I’m currently living is beyond her wildest dreams. I’ve fulfilled every desire she ever had, and more. This minor setback that’s making me have a bad day is nothing but a blip on the radar. In the light of all the wonderful things I’ve achieved, this bad day is nothing I can’t tackle.

And I tell her exactly that.

The 70-year-old Anangsha knows this journey of so many decades is bound to have multiple setbacks, most even bigger than what’s making me sad today. I see her and I understand minor inconveniences can never derail your journey, but only shape you as a person. I tell her that in the grand scheme of things, today won’t matter. I don’t have to figure out all the solutions today. I just need to get through.

And that’s my message for you today: If you’re having a bad day, all you need to do is get through it. You can figure out the solutions later.

The next time you’re wallowing in self-pity, try carrying out this tiny mental exercise. Talking to your past and present selves is a life-hack. If you master it, you’ll be the master of emotional self-regulation.

Let me know your favorite ways to turn a bad day around by leaving a comment below.

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