Want to bounce back better and faster when life hits you with unexpected surprises?
Here’s a quick list of some of the most useful tips to get back on your feet.
1. Acknowledge what is in front of you. If you’re in the middle of a bad situation, it’s time to really see what is happening. You must be completely honest with yourself – no more denial or wishful thinking that it will get better. Strip away the intense emotion from it, identify the problem, and accept that it is reality.
2. Realize that change is always going to be in your life.
You struggle against change. You waste a lot of energy making sure that things stay the same in your life. Save your energy for better things and accept that change truly is a normal part of life. Expect it.
3. Learn to be an optimist.
Optimism and pessimism are ways you explain why things happen to you. Being optimistic allows you to bounce back because it helps you focus on the positive and not predict the negative. The web is full of great articles on how to be an optimist instead of a pessimist. Go check it out.
4. Be nice to yourself.
Here are the three keys to self-compassion proposed by researcher Kristin Neff: a.) Stop your inner criticism. Treat yourself as you would your best friend, b.) Everyone has flaws. Everyone. Remember that you’re a part of the human race so you’re bound to make mistakes, and, c.) Practice mindfulness by noticing your thoughts and feelings, but have no judgment about them.
5. Let it go.
Grasping tightly to a belief, behavior, or material object only drains your energy and narrows your focus onto that object. In order to be resilient, you need flexibility and openness to options and opportunities.
6. Have a tribe.
It’s vital to have friends and family who can rally around you in an emergency. Make sure you have a good, stable tribe at your disposal.
7. Look for the silver lining.
Always look for the lessons and gifts that are inherent in adversity. Maybe you’ll learn that you’re stronger than you thought. Maybe you’ll find out how many people really care about you. The silver lining is there if you look for it.
8. Develop post-traumatic growth.
When faced with trauma, a small number of people develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, the majority of people bounce back naturally after a month or so, and the remaining people actually grow and benefit from the experience. How? The basics are being optimistic and looking for the lessons in their lives. Give it a try.
9. Find a mentor.
Researcher about childhood resilience shows that the presence of even one caring adult in a child’s life can make all the difference. It can for you, too. Find someone you admire and trust and use them for guidance and loving support.
10. Look at problems from different angles.
Although the crisis in front of you may look dire, ask yourself if there is another way to look at it. Might it actually open up opportunities for you? Are you magnifying it unnecessarily?
11. Remember that you’ve made it through tough times before.
Unless you’ve led a charmed life, you’ve been through difficult situations in your past. And you’re still here to talk about it, so have faith that you’ll make it through again.
12. Think about kaleidoscopes.
When you look through a kaleidoscope, you see a beautiful pattern. It’s so pretty, you may not want to change it. But, eventually, you have to turn the dial. Suddenly there is a chaotic jumble in front of your eyes but then, magically, another beautiful pattern emerges. Life can be like this, too. So remember when things are jumbled in your life that they may be actually forming a brand new, beautiful image.
13. Take a break.
It’s important to refresh both your body and mind so take a break now and then. And remember that it’s okay to distract yourself from mental and emotional experiences like grief and rumination, too. You could use a break. Go do something fun. Really, it’s okay.
14. Remember that you already are resilient.
As mentioned in #8 above, most people are naturally resilient and you are probably one of them. Just because you struggle for a bit doesn’t mean you’re not resilient. It means you’re human.
15. Common humanity.
Remember that you are a part of the human species and therefore quite likely to have some flaws and make mistakes. But everyone does. You are not alone in your experience of struggling with external or internal adversity.
16. No one said you have to like it.
You know what? Sometimes things really do suck. So, just because you need to be resilient doesn’t mean you have to like the situation you’re in. You can be accepting, open, and flexible while at the same time acknowledging that the problem sucks.
17. Look up.
Do you find that you keep your eyes to the ground a lot? Do something different – look up! You might see something you’ve never seen before. And looking up helps provide that distraction that we talked about in #13 as you notice the color of the sky, that cool piece of architecture, or the intricate spider web design in the corner of the room.
18. Simply notice.
Feeling bad? Okay, but you don’t have to buy into your emotions. Just notice them. And withhold judgment about them or yourself.
19. Be kind.
Commit random acts of kindness. Helping others creates positive emotions in you which then expands your sense of possibilities in the world - the idea that there is more than one way to get through your current crisis. Problem-solving a situation becomes much easier and you’ll find that positive emotions help exponentially with your ability to bounce back.
Bobbi Emel is a psychotherapist who blogs about bouncing back in life. Download her FREE guide: Bounce Back! 5 keys to survive and thrive through life’s ups and downs. You can find more of Bobbi’s writing at The Bounce Blog.