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Last Updated on April 22, 2020

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 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.

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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

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Ashley Elizabeth

Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Live Your Best Life Starting Today

How to Live Your Best Life Starting Today

As human beings, one of our deepest-rooted desires is to have a meaningful and happy existence. You’ve probably heard of the saying, “Live your best life.” It’s good advice.

We all want to feel connected to both ourselves and others. We want to feel that we’re part of something important and that we’re making a difference in the world.

We want to look back at our lives and our achievements and be proud. In short, we want what the saying says: to live our best lives.

But what does it really mean to live your best life?

You are a unique individual, so living your best life is exclusive to you. Your best life will reflect your true values. It will be made up of what makes you happy and will be colored by what making a difference means to you.

What Stops You From Living Your Best Life?

While living your best life is all about you, what other people think can have an impact on your quest to live your best life.

Social media, for example, puts us under a lot of pressure. There are specific expectations of what “happy” looks like, and we’re under pressure to conform to what society expects.

For example, we are pressured to look a certain way, wear the “right” clothes, have exciting adventures with eye-catching friends, eat ethical and healthy food, and do charity work.

These are only a few of society’s expectations. It’s a long list.

Social media claims to connect us, but often it can do the opposite.

We can spend so much time worrying about what other people are doing, trying to live the life that society expects of us, that it can be easy to lose track of what makes us happy and what our best life actually looks like.

Start the Journey

What does it look like to live your best life? The following are some practical tips and tools to move from living your current life to living your best life.

1. Be the Best Version of Yourself

To live your best life, you must be the best version of yourself. Don’t try to be something or someone else. Don’t try to be what other people want you to be.

Focus on who you want to be. Play to your strengths and be proud of what makes you different. You are brilliant.

Gretchen Rubin, in her book Happiness Project, created her own commandments. The first one was “Be Gretchen.” This gave her permission to follow her gut feeling and make up her own rules.

For example, she stopped forcing herself to enjoy parties, cocktails, and fashion just because that’s what she thought society expected.

So, inspired by Gretchen, create your own commandment: “Be more YOU,” and remind yourself of this every day, unapologetically.

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2. Observe Yourself

To work out what the best you looks like, you must get to know yourself better. It’s your best life after all – not anyone else’s.

Start to notice how you respond to various situations. What are your habits? What makes you happy? What frustrates you? How do you behave under pressure? What gives you energy? What drains you?

Spend a week simply noticing. Write your observations down so you remember.

3. Identify Your Bad Habits

As part of your observations, start to notice your bad habits. Consider the things that don’t ultimately make you feel good.

Does scrolling mindlessly through Instagram make you happy? For 5 minutes, perhaps, but for longer?

That last glass of wine was delicious, but do you pay the price later?

That chocolate was enjoyable at the moment, but now that the sugar high is over, are you feeling regretful?

Observe yourself first. Then, start to deliberately do more of the things that make you happy and give you energy.

At the same time, work on reducing then eliminating the habits that squander your time, drain your energy, and ultimately don’t make you happy.

Need help conquering your bad habits? Read How to Break Bad Habits Once and For All.

4. Set Intentions

After having thought about what makes you happy and what drains your energy, focus on what living the best life looks like for you.

One of the keys to this is being intentional about it. When you deliberately set intentions, you are more likely to act with purpose and drive.

Setting intentions is different from setting goals. Goals are your list of things you want to achieve. You can set them daily, monthly, yearly, or a combination.

A common practice is to define goals and write them down. This makes them more tangible and makes you more accountable, therefore, making the goals more likely to happen.

The subtle yet important difference between goals and intentions is that when setting intentions, you decide what kind of positive feelings and emotions you are seeking.

For example, “This week, my intention is to approach my admin tasks with gusto in order to complete them more quickly.”

Intentions can be more motivating than goals because if you don’t achieve your goal, it can feel like a failure and can ultimately hold you back.

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If you don’t achieve your intention to approach something in a specific way, you can more easily regroup and have another try.

Write down your intentions every month, week, or day, using whichever time frame works best for you.

For example, “I intend to enjoy going swimming three times this week” or “I intend to assertively build my network in my local area this month.”

Setting intentions gives you something to focus on, and it also helps to manage the feeling of being overwhelmed that often happens when we set ourselves goals.

5. Visualize Living Your Best Life

Visualization can help you to cement your intentions. It involves visualizing how it would feel to live your best life once you achieve it.

It can help you to further establish what you want and allow you to settle into a positive mindset.

To visualize, first choose your focus. Choose a specific intention and how you will feel once it is accomplished. Then, take the time to daydream and allow your imagination to wander.

For example, if your intention is going swimming three times a week, imagine what you will look and feel like:

  • What will you wear?
  • How do you get there?
  • What time of day do you go?
  • How do you feel when you’re in the water?
  • How do you feel afterward?

Ask yourself these little questions and allow yourself to feel the same feelings you would feel if you were currently fulfilling your intention.

10 Ways to Live Your Best Life

Now that you’ve decided and visualized what your best life looks like, let’s look at some more practical steps you can take to achieve it.

1. Focus

Whatever you do, focus. If you swim, swim. If you study, study. Multitasking is a myth. It’s not possible to do more than one thing at a time well. Focused work is the least tiresome and the most productive type of work.

Michael LeBouf, the author of The Millionaire in You, said,

“Winners focus, losers spray.”

2. Take Responsibility for Taking Action

Taking action can feel scary. We fear failure, but we can also fear success. It can be easy to feel too busy to achieve your intentions.

However, you have the choice to take action and live your best life or stay the same. It’s up to you, so take responsibility to take action.

3. Live in the Present

Every day is a new opportunity to live your best life. We so often get stuck because we put things off.

We can think, “When I’ve lost 10 lbs I’ll go swimming,” or “When I feel more confident I’ll look for a new job,” or “When I get my new running shoes I’ll start running.”

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How about starting from where you are? How about using what you already have?

We often put off taking action until we have the newest phone/camera/game/course/book/shoes as if they are the keys to happiness. In the process, we forget about what we already have.

Grab the camera that you have, put on your old running shoes. Go and do something interesting today with what you’ve got. Fancier gadgets, better clothes, or a slimmer body won’t make you better.

Action will.

4. Declutter

This applies to the environment you live in as well as the people you spend time with. Use Marie Kondo’s decluttering method of asking, “Does it bring you joy?”[1]

If your answer is yes, you keep the item. If you hesitate or say no, you donate it or throw it out. Simple.

This also applies to people. If there are people in your life that make you feel bad, drain your energy, and don’t bring you joy, let go of them.

Instead, spend time with the people and activities that give you energy and make you feel good.

5. Relish the Simple Things

When we’re busy, we can forget to appreciate what we have. Take time to focus on the simple things. Even when you’re feeling low, there’s always something to be grateful for.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.[2] Be deliberate in being grateful for what you do have, rather than resentful of what you don’t.

6. Journaling

Journaling

is simply writing your thoughts down.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, writing your thoughts and feelings down on paper not only helps you get your thoughts in order, but it can also help ease symptoms of depression and manage stress and anxiety.[3]

In the chaos of life, it is easy to overthink, feel anxious, or not appreciate what you do have. Journaling can help you manage your thoughts and feelings and productively cope with life.

Be curious and keep learning. Ask more questions and keep pushing yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and learn.

What are you interested in or curious about? Perhaps it’s learning more about where you live, or reading up on a particular topic? Maybe it’s traveling to a new town or country?

According to Dan Pink’s research, learning is a key motivator.[4] Whether you feel like you’ve gotten stuck in a boring routine or you’re stressed by the tasks of daily life, learning something new is a way to step outside yourself and your comfort zone.

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Create a bucket list of all the things you’d like to do and learn and the places you’d like to go to, and start ticking them off.

7. Make Someone’s Day

Being kind to others makes them feel good, and it also releases chemicals in your body that make you feel good. Think about a time you gave someone a gift that they loved. How did you feel?

You don’t have to start giving people gifts to make someone’s day. Think about small, thoughtful gestures: a genuine compliment, opening the door, offering to help someone.

All these things can make a big difference in someone’s day.

8. Look After Your Body

Eat what nourishes you, including plenty of vegetables and fruit and food that’s natural and unprocessed. Drink plenty of water.

Exercise because you like it, not because you’re supposed to go to the gym.

Reject the idea that you have to push yourself really hard at exercise, and instead try out a variety of things – for example, walking the dog, gardening, yoga, swimming, or dancing.

Find what you enjoy. When you enjoy something, you’ll be motivated to do it more.

Get good rest! We’re all different in terms of the amount of sleep that we need. However, most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep.

If you’re not getting that much, then check out healthy sleep tips from the Sleep Foundation.[5]

More tips for staying healthy: Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthy and High-Achieving You.

9. Manage Your Inner Critic

Most people have an inner critic that tells them they are not good enough, that they’re a fraud, and that they are going to be found out.

This happens especially when we step out of our comfort zone and change things. If you are living your best life, your inner critic likes to jeopardize that.

The next time it appears, acknowledge what’s happening and call it out. Whatever it is telling you, list all the reasons it’s wrong.

10. Be Prepared to Change the Plan

You may have set intentions to live your best life. However, life is not linear, nor does it work in lists. You must expect to be flexible and change the plan as life throws things at you.

The end game remains the same: to live your best life. It’s just the route to get there that will inevitably change.

Conclusion

Live each day like it counts, and remember, it’s your choice. Your best life is unique to you. Don’t compare yourself to others – focus on living your best life, and enjoy the learning, exploration, and experiences along the way.

More Tips on How You Can Live Your Best Life

Featured photo credit: Juliana Malta via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Kon Mari: Tidy your space, transform your life
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: In Praise of Gratitude
[3] University of Rochester Medical Center: Journaling for Mental Health
[4] Daniel H. Pink: Dan Pink on Motivation
[5] Sleep Foundation: Healthy Sleep Tips

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