Advertising

Last Updated on December 23, 2020

5 Steps to Bounce Back Fast When Life Knocks You Down

Advertising
5 Steps to Bounce Back Fast When Life Knocks You Down

When life knocks you down, do you bounce back fast or drown in your emotions and give up?

If you struggle with coping with life’s blows, you’re not alone.

Everyone encounters challenging times in their lives. I think we can all agree that you never know what life will throw at you. Life is one big rollercoaster ride of ups and downs.

There will be times when you feel like you’re on top of the world, while other times, you may feel like you’re at rock bottom. Most of us will sway on both ends of the continuum at some point in our lives.

Playing with the unknown makes the journey through life equally exciting and terrifying.

If you’ve been clinging to dear life with the belief that life is supposed to be linear, you’re in for a rude awakening.

When bad things happen, it’s natural to feel down. You may even fall into the trap of assuming that things will never get better. Unfortunately, this mindset is the very thing that keeps so many people stuck in one place and drowning in victimhood.

This wild ride that we call in life is actually an endless string of highs and lows, successes and failures, setbacks and comebacks. This is why it is imperative that you develop your resilience muscle.

My Personal Journey With Bouncing Back

I know how hard it is to pull yourself out of the rubble when life knocks you down. My rock bottom was ugly. I wasn’t ready for it. It hit me like a ton of bricks and left me feeling hopeless.

A brain injury will do that to you. I like to call it my “silent trauma.” On the outside, I looked totally normal, while inside, it felt like I was slowly dying.

I was in a battle with my brain. It felt like I couldn’t win, no matter how hard I fought. My nervous system was stuck in the “on” position. It wasn’t until I connected to my body intelligence on a deeper level that I started to move from a position of helpless victim to victor of my life.

My greatest knockdown in life tested my physical, mental, and emotional resilience. However, through it all, my ‘bounce-backability’ remained strong.

In many ways, this horrible experience has become my greatest gift. It’s given me the ability to connect with my mind, body and, and soul on a whole new level. More importantly, it led me to my life’s purpose.

Today, I’m the Founder and Creative Director of You 2.0, a dance movement medicine practice that helps women move with their mess so that they can heal trauma and become more resilient to life’s blows.

Advertising

In my experience, the goal of resiliency isn’t just bouncing back fast. Rather, it’s about learning how to bounce forward. In order to prevent the same mistakes from happening again, it’s not enough to merely rebuild yourself.

You’ve got to take it one step further and find meaning in difficult times so that you can your transform pain into possibility.

The Importance of Resilience

Have you ever wondered why some people bounce back faster from challenges, while others fall and can’t get back up? It comes down to resilience.

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.[1]

How you approach setbacks, in large part, determines your level of success in life. This is why it’s so important to possess a resilient mindset.

The great thing about resilience is that it’s a trait that can be learned and cultivated with practice. Just like a muscle, you need to flex it every single day.

Keep in mind that possessing resilience won’t magically make your challenges go away. However, it will give you the ability to bounce back faster so that you can return to enjoying life to the fullest.

In the words of Dr. Steve Maraboli,

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving; we get stronger and more resilient.”

5 Steps To Bounce Back When Life Knocks You Down

When it feels like you don’t have the strength to get through difficult times, I’m here to tell you that you do.

Take a moment and think back to every hardship you have endured in the past.

You are still standing. Why do you think this is? What was it about your character that allowed you to get through these difficult times?

I would argue that people don’t give themselves enough credit for how truly resilient they are, and have always been.

It doesn’t matter how many times you fall. All that matters is that you bounce back.

Advertising

I’m a true believer that you will never know how strong you actually are until being strong is the only option that you have.

I am the living proof that you can transform rock bottom into a life that is truly purposeful. However, you’ve got to believe that this is possible for you.

Here are five steps to bounce back fast when life knocks you down.

1. Reframe the Difficult Experience

Let’s face it… it’s disappointing when life knocks you down. In this state, it’s easy to drop into self-pity and blame the world for your problems. The internal narrative, “Why me?” may play out in your head like a bad record.

However, just because you get derailed, that doesn’t mean that you’ve failed altogether. I like to give myself five minutes to wallow in my disappointment and then, I get back to being an emotional gangster.

How do I do this?

By reframing my interpretation of a negative experience.

Reframing means changing the way you think or “talk” to yourself about a stressful event.[2] Instead of saying “I give up”, “I’m a failure,” shift your internal narrative and say something like, “This is merely a setback. I will get through this because I’m a strong person.”

It all comes down to the meaning that you give experiences in life, both the good and the bad. Stressful life events are merely opportunities for you to grow and become more.

2. Show Yourself Compassion

I believe that self-compassion helps you face life’s challenges with more grace and ease. No matter what setback you encounter in life, don’t beat yourself up about it.

Whether it was something within your control or not, show yourself some self-compassion.

When you take the time to be kind to yourself, you are reinforcing the idea that you deserve to be treated well. The worst thing that you can do is blame yourself. This is a surefire way to experience feelings of shame which is a strong burden to bare.

Self-compassion acknowledges the reality that you are having an unhealthy moment, not an unhealthy life. You always have a choice what the next moment is going to be.[3]

The next time that chaos strikes, ask yourself what you need in order to feel more grounded when everything in your environment feels uneasy.

Advertising

Showing yourself love is all about acknowledging and accepting that you aren’t perfect and neither is life! All any of us can do is our best.

Adopting this mindset will allow you to view challenges more objectively and in turn, feel more in control of your life.

At the end of the day, you cannot control how others react or what the world gives you. However, you can always control your inner world.

3. Take Responsibility for Your Life

If you refuse to take responsibility for life’s setbacks, you avoid problems altogether and, in turn, disempower yourself.

A setback may not have been your fault. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take ownership of it. When circumstances are unfavorable, it takes guts to say, “I’m owning this.”

Spending time and energy being bitter towards a situation is a waste of time. You can’t move forward in life if you’re too busy blaming the world for your problems.

Avoid making excuses at all costs and recognize the role that you played in the situation. This is how you will feel empowered to learn from your mistakes and bounce back fast when you get knocked down.

In the words of Erica Jong,

“Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: No one to blame.”

4. Find The Silver Lining

Life acts in funny ways. What may seem like the worst thing in the world may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

Did life really knock you down, or is life just trying to steer you in another direction? The second that things aren’t going our way, we’re often inclined to think of it as a bad thing. But what if it isn’t?

By looking at the bright side of a difficult situation, you will feel more empowered to find a solution to the problem.

Research shows that having a positive outlook in difficult circumstances is not only an important predictor of resilience, but it is the most important predictor of it.[4]

Optimistic people always look at obstacles and challenges as opportunities to improve themselves. If you can see the glass half full, you will be a happier person overall, regardless of life’s knockdowns.

Advertising

5. Get Right Back Up Again

When life knocks you down, you always have two choices — get up and move forward or stay on the ground and accept defeat.

From my personal experience, I have found that the longer you stay down, the harder it is to get back up again.

I encourage you to use every fall as an opportunity to evolve into a wiser human being. Failing is merely proof that you’re trying; so fail more and do it well!

The reality is that you won’t grow from merely hanging out in your comfort zone. True growth requires that you take big risks and put yourself on the line, without knowing what the final outcome will be.

The path to an extraordinary life will require that you do the very thing that others aren’t willing to do.

I have yet to meet a successful people who hasn’t struggled to achieve the success they now have. The only difference between them and everyone else is that they don’t give up when things get tough.

When they get knocked off track, they jump right back in without giving it a second thought. If they can’t find a way, they make a way. There is no option B.

The next time that life knocks you down, bounce back fast, knowing that your refusal to quit means that you’re already winning at the game of life. Every struggle you experience is a mere stepping stone on the road to your success.

Bonus: How To Stop Feeling Defeated

Final Thoughts

Falling down is just a part of life. However, getting up is where the real living is. Whatever you do, don’t give up.

In the words of Vince Lombardi,

“It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up.”

Pick yourself up off the floor, wipe away your tears, and keep going. You’ve got this.

More About Resilience and Inner Strength

Featured photo credit: Simon John-McHaffie via unsplash.com

Advertising

Reference

[1] American Psychological Association: The Road To Resilience
[2] Equitable Life of Canada: Building Resilience With Self-Care
[3] Psychology Today: Self-Compassion Helps You Meet Life’s Challenges
[4] The Atlantic: The Benefits of Optimism Are Real

More by this author

Ashley Elizabeth

Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

How Successful Women Shake Up and Redefine the Workplace 4 Signs You Have a Victim Mentality (And How to Break out of It) How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide) What Motivates You to Succeed in Life and Keep Moving Forward? 5 Reasons Why Keeping a Mood Journal Is Good For Your Mental Health

Trending in Staying Motivated

1 What Is Incentive Motivation And Does It Work? 2 6 Friday Motivation Tips to Help You Stay Motivated 3 How to Improve Employee Motivation in the Workplace 4 20 All-Time Best Motivational Books to Inspire You 5 21 Powerful Words That Will Give You Life Motivation

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on September 27, 2021

What Is Incentive Motivation And Does It Work?

Advertising
What Is Incentive Motivation And Does It Work?

We’ve all needed a bit of inspiration at some time in our lives. In the past year or two, that need most likely has grown. Who hasn’t been trying to shed those extra pounds we put on during the pandemic? Who hasn’t felt the need to fake a little enthusiasm at joining yet another Zoom call? Who hasn’t been trying to get excited about trekking back into the office for a 9 to 5 (longer if you add in the commute)? Feeling “meh” is a sign of our times. So, too, is incentive motivation, a way to get back our spark, our drive, and our pursuit of the things we say we want most.

In this article, I’ll talk about what incentive motivation is and how it works.

What Is Incentive Motivation?

Incentive motivation is an area of study in psychology focused on human motivation. What is it that gets us to go from couch potato to running a marathon? What spurs us to get the Covid vaccine—or to forgo it? What is it that influences us to think or act in a certain way? Incentive motivation is concerned with the way goals influence behavior.[1] By all accounts, it works if the incentive being used holds significance for the person.

The Roots of Incentive Motivation

Incentive motivation’s roots can be traced back to when we were children. I’m sure many of us have similar memories of being told to “eat all our veggies” so that we would “grow up to be big and strong,” and if we did eat those veggies, we would be rewarded with a weekend trip to a carnival or amusement park or playground of choice. The incentive of that outing was something we wanted enough to have it influence our behavior.

Advertising

Growing up, incentive motivation continues to play a major role in what we choose to do. For example, while we may not have relished the idea of spending years studying, getting good grades, pursuing advanced degrees, and graduating with sizeable debt from student loans, a great many of us decided to do just that. Why? Because the end goal of a career, a coveted title, and the associated incentives of financial reward and joy in doing something we love were powerful motivators.

One researcher who believes in the power of incentive motivation is weight management expert, co-author of the book State of Slim, and co-founder of the transformational weight loss program of the same name, Dr. Holly Wyatt. Her work with her clients has proven time and again that when motivation fizzles, incentives can reignite those motivational fires.

“Eat more veggies, exercise, keep track of my weight: These things and more DO work, but bottom line, you gotta keep doing them. Setting up rituals and routines to put your efforts on auto-pilot is one way. And along the way, the use of both external and internal motivators helps keep people on track. External motivation sources are those things outside of ourselves that help to motivate us. They’re powerful, like pouring gasoline on a fire. But they may not last very long. Internal motivators are more tied into the reasons WHY we want to reach our goals. In my State of Slim weight loss program, we spend a lot of time on what I call ‘peeling back the onion’ to find the WHY. I think the internal motivators are more powerful, especially for the long-term, but they may take longer to build. They’re the hot coals that keep our motivational fires burning.”

Examples of Incentive Motivation

In the way of incentive motivation, specific to the external motivators, Dr. Wyatt challenges her clients to commit to changing just one behavior that will help them reach their weight loss goals. Clients must then agree to a “carrot” or a “stick” as either their reward for accomplishing what they say they will do or as their punishment for falling short. Those incentives might be something like enjoying a spa day if they do the thing they said they would do or sweating it out while running up and down the stairwell of their apartment building a certain number of times as punishment for not following through.

Advertising

Whatever they choose, the goal must be something they really want, and the incentive must be something that matters to them enough to influence their behaviors in reaching those goals. Some people are more motivated by some sort of meaningful reward (a carrot) whereas, other people are more motivated by some sort of negative consequence or the taking away of a privilege (the stick).

Another example of incentive motivation is playing out currently with companies and government entities offering perks to people who get the Covid vaccine. Nationwide, offers are being made in the way of lottery tickets, cash prizes, concert seats, free admission to events and discounts for food, and even free drink at local restaurants and bars. The list of incentives being offered to the public to increase vaccination rates is pretty extensive and quite creative.[2]  These incentives are financial, social, and even hit on moral sensibilities. But is this particular incentive motivation working?

Remember that a key to incentive motivation working is if the individual puts importance on the reward being received on the ultimate goal. So, not all incentives will motivate people in the same way. According to Stephen L. Franzoi, “The value of an incentive can change over time and in different situations.”[3]

How Does Incentive Motivation Differ from Other Types of Motivators?

Incentive motivation is just one type of motivating force that relies on external factors. While rewards are powerful tools in influencing behaviors, a few other options may be more aligned with who you are and what gets you moving toward your goals.

Advertising

Fear Motivation

In many ways, being motivated by fear is the very opposite of being motivated by incentives. Rather than pursuing some reward, it’s the avoidance of some consequence or painful punishment that sparks someone into action. For example, married couples may “forsake all others” not out of love or commitment but out of a fear that they may be “taken to the cleaners” by their spouses if their infidelities are revealed.

Another example wherein fear becomes the great motivator is one we’re hearing about more and more as we’re coming out of this pandemic—the fear of being poor. The fear of being poor has kept many people in jobs they hate. It’s only now that we see a reversal as headlines are shining a light on just how many workers are quitting and refusing to go back to the way things were.

Social Motivation

Human beings are social creatures. The desire to belong is a powerful motivator. This type of social motivation sparks one’s behavior in ways that, hopefully, result in an individual being accepted by a certain group or other individuals.

The rise of the Internet and the explosion of social media engagement has been both positive and negative in its power to motivate us to be included among what during our school days would be called “the cool kids” or “cliques” (jocks, nerds, artsy, gamers, etc.). We probably all have experienced at one time or another the feelings associated with “not being chosen”—whether to be on a team to play some game or as the winning candidate for some job or competition. Social rejection can make or break us.

Advertising

Before You Get Up and Go…

Know that, especially during these challenging times, it’s “normal” and very much “okay” to feel a lack of motivation. Know, too, that external motivators, such as those we’ve talked about in this article, can be great tools to get your spark back. We’ve only touched on a few here. There are many more—both external and internal.

Remember that these external motivators, such as incentive motivations, are only as powerful as the importance placed on the reward by the individual. It’s also important to note that if there isn’t an aligned internal motivation, the results will more than likely be short-lived.

For example, losing a certain amount of weight because you want to fit into some outfit you intend to wear at some public event may get you to where you want to be. But will it hold up after your party? Or will those pounds find their way back to you? If you want to be rewarded at work with that trip to the islands because you’ve topped the charts in sales and hustle to make your numbers, will you be motivated again and again for that same incentive? Or will you need more and more to stay motivated?

Viktor Frankl, the 20th-century psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor, and author of the best-selling book, Man’s Search for Meaning, is quoted as having said, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” As important as external motivators like incentives may be in influencing behaviors, the key is always to align them with one’s internal “why”—only then will the results be long-lived.

Advertising

So, how might incentive motivation influence you and your behavior toward goals? Knowing your answer might keep you energized no matter what your journey and help to further your successes.

Featured photo credit: Atharva Tulsi via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Britannica: Incentive motivation
[2] National Governors Association: COVID-19 Vaccine Incentives
[3] verywellmind: The Incentive Theory of Motivation

Read Next