The decision proved to be a wise one as the Black Cats took 17 points from their final 11 games, including the Bolton victory.
Speaking to SAFC TV, Bruce said: "You have to keep that equilibrium - not getting too carried away or beating yourself up too badly.
"As a manager you have to be in the middle all the time.
"If you take water in, people look at you and say - 'look at the state he's in today'.
"You have to make sure you lead from the front and put a brave face on it during the tough times to bring people with you and get out of it.
"Thankfully we came through the bad spell, though it was six weeks too late for my liking.
"When we got our big players back we looked like a better team again."