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Published on August 6, 2019

5 Steps to Bounce Back Fast When Life Knocks You Down

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?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

Psychologist and Motivational Speaker

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Published on April 1, 2020

Why an Attitude of Gratitude Is Essential (And How to Develop It)

Why an Attitude of Gratitude Is Essential (And How to Develop It)

There is one way to make sure that you wake up every single day feeling calm, joyful and blissed-out, and that is to adopt an attitude of gratitude.

When you make it a conscious habit to express appreciation for your life, the Universe listens and responds with more love. Let me be clear… this doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person if you aren’t able to see the good on a bad day.

Life is far from perfect. Sometimes things happen that cause us to react negatively. Having a pity party is okay now and then. However, it does nothing good for your mental and emotional well-being.

An attitude of gratitude forces you to get outside of your problems and look at the bigger picture. In turn, you are better able to bounce forward when challenges occur in life.

What Is an Attitude of Gratitude?

An attitude of gratitude means that you operate from a place of abundance instead of a place of scarcity and fear. Each of us always has a choice of what we will focus on.

Grateful people give thanks for everything in their life, even on the days when it feels like nothing is going right.

To turn an attitude of gratitude into a sustainable habit, your foundation for feelings of gratitude must be independent of your circumstances.[1]

Hence, even on the days when it feels like nothing is going right, you have to find the silver lining and give thanks for what is working.

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As Melody Beattie says,

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, and confusion to clarity.”

Why Is Gratitude Important?

We all know how important it is to have a positive attitude. We’re taught to look at the world as a half-full glass, rather than a half-empty one. There’s good reason to adopt this mindset.

Studies show that if you express gratitude, it raises your happiness by 25%.[2] When you take a moment to give thanks for what you have, instead of ruminating on what you don’t have, it fills you up.

If gratitude is so good for your mental and emotional health, then why do so many people struggle to practice it? As humans, we are hardwired to dwell or fixate on the bad.

Psychologists have found that negative events have a greater impact on our brains than positive ones, referred to as the negative bias.[3]

As a result, a lot of people tend to move farther away from gratitude, which is an essential precursor to happiness. As Lewis Howes says,

“If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”

4 Simple Ways to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

Let’s look at 4 simple ways that you can develop an attitude of gratitude.

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal

If someone were to ask you right now what you’re grateful for, would you be able to answer, without overthinking?

We often experience things that we should be grateful for, only to forget about them the next day. This is why writing down what you are grateful for is a good idea. By doing so you are rewriting your brain to focus on the good.

Gratitude journaling is the habit of recording and reflecting on things (typically three) that you are grateful for regularly.[4]

When it comes to practicing gratitude, consistency is key. Get into a routine of writing in your journal daily, preferably in the morning. This is a great way to start your day with a grateful heart.

Here’s How a Gratitude Journal Can Drastically Change Your Life

2. Express Your Gratitude

Once you have developed an attitude of gratitude, you are free to share that love with others. How often do you take the time to tell people in your life how much they mean to you?

Research shows that on the days that individuals strive to express their gratitude, they experience more positive emotions and are more likely to report helping someone and to feel connected with others.[5]

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Think about the people in your life who have made a positive impact on you. Reach out and tell them how much you appreciate them. There are plenty of ways to express your gratitude.

Start writing thank-you notes to anyone who has helped you along your journey, give out meaningful compliments, and celebrate the joys of others as if they are yours, too. Now, more than ever before, we need to uplift and inspire one another.

3. Celebrate the Small Things

We are conditioned to focus on and celebrate our big achievements, instead of our small wins. However, if you fail to ignore the small things and keep rushing from one thing to the next, you will quickly become demotivated.

Who you become isn’t determined by the end goal. Rather, it’s determined by the person who you become along your journey to success.

When you celebrate the small things, what you’re doing is celebrating your habits.[6]

Take time to pause, slow down and savor the small things. Instead of obsessing about the future or dwelling on the past, be more aware of the present moment. It’s all you’ve got. Relish in it.

4. Meditate on Gratitude

Meditation is a powerful practice in self-awareness. The goal isn’t to silence your thoughts. Rather, it’s to become an active observer of them. The process of meditation is all about allowing the mind to do its thing and accept it as it is.

I’ve always struggled with meditation. Sitting in silence for long periods of time isn’t my cup of tea. However, once I started combining meditation with gratitude, the game changed.

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I began the process of transforming my inner and outer world. Today, meditation has now become a non-negotiable ritual in my life.

Through meditation, we can build up areas of our brain and rewire it to enhance positive traits like focus and decision making and diminish the less positive ones like fear and stress.[7]

When you master the mind, you master your emotions. All of a sudden, everything in your life flows with more ease. You become less reactive and are better able to handle life’s challenges with grace.

The beauty of a gratitude meditation is that you can practice it anywhere. Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule each day to reflect upon the things and people whom you are grateful for.

If you’ve never tried meditation before, this guide is for you: How Do You Meditate? 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

Watch your mood change instantly. It’s powerful.

Final Thoughts

It’s never too late to start cultivating an attitude of gratitude.

What are you grateful for? Give thanks for whatever that is every single day. Life is beautiful. Take the time to stop and appreciate it. Gratitude has the power to transform your entire life.

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More Ways to Practice Gratitude

Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

Reference

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