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Last Updated on December 23, 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.

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

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

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 5 Ways to Help Yourself Advance Your Mental Strength

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Published on May 10, 2021

How To Motivate Yourself To Study When You’re Too Busy With Work

How To Motivate Yourself To Study When You’re Too Busy With Work

It was just after 5 AM as I gathered my things to head to the gym. As I walked down the hall, I noticed the light on in my daughter Kinsey’s bedroom. She isn’t typically up that early, so I decided to peek inside to see what was going on.

As I opened the door, I saw her sitting in bed with her laptop open and a perplexed look on her face.

“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m doing some last-minute studying before I take my pharmacology exam.”
“Why are you doing it so early?” I questioned.
“I need to get it done before I go to work because I have a full day, and I won’t want to do it later.”

Kinsey is a great student, and she works full-time and goes to school, so I didn’t want to question her actions. Still, as she responded, it hit me. This was one way she kept her motivation to study when she was too busy with work.

I didn’t want to disturb her further, so I slowly closed the door and went on my way, pondering the question on my own, “how does one maintain their motivation to study when they are too busy with work?”

Motivation is an interesting topic that psychologists, sociologists, and scientists of all types have studied for decades. Countless books and articles have been written on the subject and continue to pop up each year. But what motivates us in certain situations? How can we stay motivated when we have so many other things on our minds like work?

To answer these questions, we first need to understand motivation itself. More specifically, the two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.

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Intrinsic motivation is an incentive to engage in a specific activity that derives from pleasure in the activity itself rather than because of any external benefits that might be obtained.[1] It sounds like, “I’m going to work hard to get that promotion so I can be more fulfilled at work.”

On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is an external incentive to engage in a specific activity, especially motivation arising from the expectation of punishment or reward.[2] It sounds like, “I really want that promotion at work to make more money.”

How we are motivated really comes down to whether the motivation is coming from within us or outside us. We all tend to gravitate toward one more than the other, but this can depend on a specific situation.

Let’s look at the facts from the specific situation in my example and break them down to understand them further.

  • Kinsey works and goes to school like a lot of college students.
  • Kinsey was taking her exam very early in the morning before her usual wake-up time.
  • She was doing the exam before going to work.
  • She had a busy day of work ahead.
  • She acknowledged that she would not want to do it later.

All of the facts above point to a motivated individual. What they don’t tell us specifically is, was she motivated intrinsically or extrinsically? I would lean towards intrinsic as there doesn’t seem to be any obvious reward.

This example provides some less apparent clues to ways that can help others like you. I’ve compiled the secrets inspired by these clues, along with some additional wisdom I’ve learned along the way to help you in maintaining your motivation to study.

Here are 11 tips on how to motivate yourself to study even when you’re too busy with work.

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1. Have a Great mindset

It all starts here, and a positive mindset can go a long way. Believe that you will achieve your goals, and focus on the good things that you have already done. Studies show that being optimistic leads to getting more done and having better overall mental and physical well-being.[3]

2. Visualize Success

Once your mindset is in order, then the next step is to visualize your success. Begin with a clear vision of what you want to achieve and then experience the feeling of having that success. For example, if you know you want to get an A on an exam, break down the steps to learning the material to ensure success.

3. Break Your Goals Into Small Attainable Tasks

Sometimes, a goal can feel too big, like graduating college with straight A’s. Think of the goals you have and break them down into simple, attainable steps instead.

For example, if you know you want to get an A on an exam, start with gathering the right resources to study, and then go further to identify what you need from each resource. Once you drill down far enough, everything becomes attainable.

4. Reward yourself

Rewards help keep you motivated as long as they are healthy. Once you’ve set a goal, establish a small reward for achieving it. Whether it’s an edible treat you love or something bigger like a massage, this type of external motivator can help maintain your motivation and push you closer to your bigger goals.

5. Pomodoro for the Win

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that encourages you to work with the time you have, rather than against it. Break the time you have to study into 25-minute chunks separated by 5-minute breaks. Each interval or Pomodoro helps you resist interruptions and trains your brain to focus. You’ll find that the sense of urgency it creates is a fantastic motivator.

6. Measure Progress

Once you start to accomplish goals and have successful Pomodoro’s, you need to measure it all. If you do not measure and report your progress, then you’re probably not making much progress at all. According to Pearson’s Law, when performance is measured, it improves; when performance is measured and reported, it improves exponentially.

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7. Make It a Competition

Healthy competition is advantageous to keep you moving, and it’s great for building your motivation to study. You can positively compete with others to push each other to succeed. If you don’t have anyone else, then set up a competition with yourself.

For example, see how many Pomodoro’s you can do without breaking focus and looking at your phone. Keep pushing the bar higher, and you will strive to reach it.

8. Find a Mentor

Another way for you to build and maintain your motivation to study is to find a mentor. Having a mentor is a great way to motivate and connect with someone you admire or someone in the field that you are studying. Having a mentor provides a double benefit in that they can provide both assistance and encouragement to you on your road to success.

9. Get an Accountability Buddy

While this is occasionally the role of a mentor, you can also find another person studying the same thing as you as your accountability buddy or partner. With both of you focused on the same outcome, you can share ideas that you may not have thought of and understand the point of view of your friend.

Studies show that publicly committing your goals to someone gives you at least a 65% chance of completing them. Having a specific accountability partner increases your chance of success to 95%.[4]

10. Find “Your” Time

There’s a funny line from an old movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, where a student is disrupting class, and the teacher tells him to stop interrupting the class and do what he’s doing on his own time. The student responds, “I’m here, you’re here, doesn’t that make it our time?”

Whether you are studying with a group or solo, you still need to find the time that works best for your needs and your brain. For some, this is first thing in the morning, but for others, it’s after work when they have decompressed. By measuring your success and the efficiency of your Pomodoro’s, you can identify the optimal time for you.

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11. Move

Taking the time to move is critical toward moving towards your goals. It doesn’t matter if you study at a desk, in bed, or on the floor, you still need to move. Take short five-minute breaks after each successful Pomodoro to stand up, stretch, and move your legs around. This increased blood flow will help keep you awake and get oxygen to your brain.

After you’ve completed four consecutive sessions, then it’s time for a more extended 15 to 20-minute break. This break is the optimal time to get some fresh air and brief exercise outside. This short amount of time will make a significant difference in your level of motivation.

Final Thoughts

Any of the above tips on their own can help with building and maintaining motivation when put into action. Find the ones that work for you and make them a habit. Once this is done, you won’t need the level of external motivation as you will be programmed internally for success.

I want to think that I’ve raised Kinsey with some good internal programming and her grades indicate that as well. When she got home from work around 7 PM, she came into my office and asked if she could use it for a while.

I said, “Sure, what do you need to do?”
“Take my pharmacology exam.”
“I thought you took it this morning.”
“I was going to, but the opening time was wrong on the exam, so it didn’t open until noon today instead of midnight.”
“Oh, I get it now. Sure, let me get out, so you have peace and quiet.”

I closed the door and left her in the serenity of my cave, knowing she would get a good grade on her exam. I ended up being right about the grade but not about the source of her motivation to study that morning.

When she emerged from the office about 30 minutes later, she quickly turned on the TV. It all came down to the fact that she didn’t want to miss the season finale of The Batchelor. I guess it was more extrinsic than I thought.

More Tips on Staying Motivated

Featured photo credit: Green Chameleon via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] American Psychological Association: intrinsic motivation
[2] American Psychological Association: extrinsic motivation
[3] NCBI: Optimism and Its Impact on Mental and Physical Well-Being
[4] Entrepreneur: An Accountability Partner Makes You Vastly More Likely to Succeed

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