Ever go to a wine tasting? The process goes something like this: A gulp worth of Wine Brand A is inhaled, swished, tasted, and (depending on your gentleman to alcoholic ratio) either spit or swallowed. Repeat for Wine Brand B. Don't worry, this isn't the beginnings of Grundy's Wino Blog, this is a metaphor in the making.
Before moving on to the next label, a palette cleanser is used to neutralize the taste of the previous. It is a fresh start. The flavor of the Merlot from the vineyards of Nowheresville, Oklahoma should not carry over to the aged French wines that you can't afford. The need to get that "bad taste" out of your metaphorical mouth comes up in poker as well. A vanilla wafer will do you no good here, but that doesn't mean we can't find our own palette cleanser.
As I'm sure you know by now, a bad beat can spiral into a vicious cycle of consecutive bad sessions. Like I said in the past, no one is immune to the tilt. Some deal with it better than others, some internalize, but all ask "why me?" When I reach my bad luck limit, my game goes slowly out the window. This leads to more money lost which leads to an increase in speed of said game going out the window. Exponents are involved, I don't know the exact formula.
Ah, those were the days, and by "the" I mean expensive. Things have changed now. I never fall prey to the cycle anymore because I cleanse my poker palette. I go focus on a video game, watch a movie, play with my cats, or talk to a friend. I recommend something non-stressful, so I wouldn't jump into doing paperwork or you might go into detail about how much you hate donkeys in a client's e-mail. Also, if your game is on-line, take your break away from the computer. Remove yourself from the scene of the crime completely. There isn't a set amount of time you need to relax, just long enough that your loss is lost from you mind.
Obviously, if you are in a tournament, you need to push forward until the finale. In the process, you may regain your footing. The best cure for a bad beat is to get lucky on someone else, or so I hear. However, if you never recover, don't jump into the next tourney available to avenge your financial demise. A clean palette is a profitable palette.