100 Things To Do When You’re Upset (The Sad Trombone List)


Every day isn’t always the best day, but when that happens, we have the power to turn it all around. It’s our responsibility to shake off a bad mood, and move onto greener pastures! Here are some ideas to help kick a rotten day to kingdom come…

Do something good for someone else, even though you may not want to. Do a favour, help them find something, give them an item which will help them in some way. Start the flow of positive energy.

Eat the best chocolate you can get your hands on. In bed. Or in the bath.

Turn up music you really love. Play it so loudly that it soaks in through your skin. Dance in your pyjamas. Feel the pain lift.

Have a romance in your head.


Buy a remote control for your camera & dip your toes into the pool of narcissism.

Call a friend & ask them if they want to have a slumber party.

Throw yourself head-first into a creative project. Something that you’re excited about but which feels a little too big for you. You’ll be so consumed by it that it will fuel you for ages.

Do the splits. Or at least try. (Be gentle though!)

Sing. Loudly. Badly. Off-key. Whatever you like. It works. The last time I was on my way somewhere really nerve-wracking, I was in a cab. The radio was playing & I was so anxious that the only way I could distract myself was by singing along. Loudly. The driver probably thought I was a total nut but I didn’t care & it did the trick!

Cover your entire body in cocoa butter & fall asleep.

Drink 2 litres of fizzy drink (pop, soda, you know) & stay up until sunrise.

Write a list of things that you appreciate right now, in the present moment. Focus on each of them & let the love inside you well up. Even when things appear to be going really, really badly, there are always things to be happy about. (That’s one of the reasons why we do Things I Love Thursday — to help bring your attention back to the positive.)

Indulge in your “guilty pleasures”, whatever they are. (Old episodes of America’s Next Top Model, ginger ale, chocolate cake, romantic comedies, etc.)

Send a text message to one of the most interesting people you know — maybe someone you don’t know that well, just to say hello.

Order delivery food, just to bask in the glory of the fact that if you pay people, they will come to your door. With food. Warm, good food. What an age we live in, huh?

Look through old photos. With a friend if possible. If it’s an old friend, you can reminisce (“Oh my god, do you remember when we did that?!”), & if it’s a new friend, you can tell grand stories (“Well, let me tell you about this guy…”).

Listen to old Motown hits. Come up with dance moves. Wear something sparkly & work it out. (DJ Z-Trip’s Motown Breakdown is an excellent time, too.)

Write a gruellingly personal entry for your blog dissecting every aspect of the situation which has upset you so much. Post it, don’t post it, whatever, just get it out of your system.

Plan a holiday.

Write a ridiculous online dating profile & marvel at the people who come out of the woodwork. (“Oh, a threesome with you & your wife in New Jersey? Sign me up!”)

Spend an hour in your variety store of choice, set yourself a budget ($20?) & buy some junk. Lip treatments, candy, maybe an exfoliating scrub… Then go home & play with your new purchases. There’s a reason it’s called retail therapy, you know (though of course, it doesn’t last).

Wear a fake moustache all day.

Think up nicknames for all your friends, then send them each postcards to alert them.

Think back on the last really good sex you had. Think about it for an hour. Then do something else.

Go out for a milkshake.

Appreciate the dinosaur bones at your favourite museum.

Grab a friend, dress up like tourists & go & do all the really schlocky things on offer in your city. Take LOTS of photos, & be sure to flash the peace sign in 70% of them.

Stick little crystals on something you use every day. (Wallet, light-switch, key-ring, boots?)

Buy a new pair of sunglasses or non-prescription frames. It’s a super-easy (& often relatively cheap) way to evolve your look. Plus sunglasses make for excellent on-the-fly disguises.

Go to a yoga class. Surrender & breathe deep.

Put on your favourite pair of high heels & walk up & down your bedroom/hallway doing your best Miss J impersonation. Have a friend or neighbour who is willing to humour you offer critique. “Girl, you walk like a busted-down freight-train.”

Write multiple lists of everything you want. Material possessions, relationships, work, lifestyle, everything. Pin them up by your door so you see them all the time.

Go through Urban Dictionary & find some fun/ridiculous new words to add to your vocabulary.

Make yourself the biggest ice-cream sundae you’ve ever seen. Decorate it with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles, nonpareils, whatever you like. Take a photo. Give it a name (“Jane’s Orgasmatron Cardiac Arrest Sundae”). Devour. Maybe without using your hands. Take a photo of that too.

Get your eyebrows shaped.

Spend an hour in a department store sniffing perfume samples. When you find something you like, spray it on a card & drop it in your purse.

Try break-dancing.

Watch videos of flamboyant, successful people like Elton John or Michael Jackson & marvel.

Eat animal crackers.

Drink through a straw all day. If you get your hands on a straw which matches your outfit, so much the better.

Plan a party with a theme that makes you feel really, really happy.

Write a letter to yourself in the future. Then hide it. Maybe in the pocket of a coat you never, ever wear.

Leave the house wearing just fabulous lingerie underneath a coat. With heels. (Note: if you are a man you may get accused of being a flasher if you do this. The world is cruel sometimes.)

Pull a Kid CuDi & announce your retirement from the world of something. Like cooking, or vocal communication. Announce your unretirement whenever you feel like it.

Buy a harmonica & annoy the hell out of everyone while you learn how to play it.

Go wig shopping.

Choose a festival (SXSW? Burning Man? Coachella? Wave-Gotik-Treffen?) to go to, invite some friends, & start making plans.

Add diamantes to your manicure.

Hula hoop.

Buy some really good art for your walls. Posters, prints, original artwork or other. If you’re feeling impoverished, go to the library, check out some art books, then take huge, great quality photocopies at a copy shop.

Listen to Never Better by P.O.S. from start to finish & revel in what a great album it really is.

Load up your ipod & go for a walk through your favourite park.

Visit a cool toy store & make your friend a surprise package.

Reach out to the people who inspire you but who don’t know you exist.

Write the birthdays of your personal heroes in your planner & work out a way to honour them on that day.


Colour your hair. (You can always dye it back.)

Notice where you hold tension in your body, & let it go.

Visit some kind of religious institution & observe a service.

Bake heart- or bunny-shaped cookies. Give them away.

Be graceful.

Be graceless.

Make a video diary.

Answer questions with questions.

Try on a pair of really, really expensive shoes & act like you’ll be back tomorrow, but you’re just going to go home & think about it. (Bonus points: take a photo of you in them. Often you will need to be stealthy about this but it’s worth doing.)

Record yourself trying to recite the alphabet while vigorously brushing your teeth.

Flirt with entirely inappropriate people.

Sing into your friend’s answering machine. (If you’re in the USA & use Slydial, it will take you straight to their voicemail.)

Pour pancakes in the shape of your initials. Eat them while watching aerobics on television.

Make friends with your neighbours.

Think about how great it would be to name a shaggy dog “Toupee”.

Go to an audition just for the experience.

Tell someone cute, “You’re cute”.

Sit in a sauna with a stack of fashion magazines & sweat it out.

Find a secret place with a great view. Like a tree, or a rooftop, or a hill.

Go & see a musical (or just rent one).

Be optimistic.

Buy ridiculous slippers.

Make a list of the things you want to do to celebrate the upcoming season.

Lie down in the sunshine.

Pretend to be a dancer in a music video as you perform mundane tasks. Jiggle your way from the bathroom to the kitchen, shake it while you wait for your toast to pop, booty bump while you pick an outfit.

Go to an aquarium & take photos of the jellyfish.

Watch movies you used to love as a child.

Book a karaoke room with friends & sing your heart out.

Make a list of practical, actionable ways you can improve your situation.

Start keeping a dream journal & write down their supposed meanings, too.

See if you can develop an appreciation for a band or a style of music you’ve never liked before.

Write a play.

Go to vintage stores looking for fabulous old typewriters.

Write the stuff you like about your body on your body with a marker.

Change your ring-tone to the sound of one of your friends laughing hysterically.

Watch videos of Robin Williams or Eddie Murphy.

Listen to Divine Harvest by The Mae Shi. Don’t be worried, everything will turn out fine. Don’t be worried, friend just put your hand in mine.

Take a nap with your head at the other end of the bed.

Walk around a garden centre & buy a colourful plant. Give it a name.

Go somewhere that people walk their dogs & make friends with some fluffy creatures.

Hug your friends.

Tell someone everything.

Believe that everything is always getting better.