I’m proud of the way I’ve dealt with setbacks. It’s hard when you feel down and you think, ‘Why is the world doing this to me?’ But you have to pick yourself up again. That’s what made me a better athlete. Jessica Ennis-Hill, World and Olympic Heptathlon Champion.
You never know when events around you will conspire to put you under intense pressure. Events that hit you like a juggernaut. When those moments happen you’re like a boxer who’s been knocked to the canvas. You have two choices. You can pick yourself up and get back in the fight or you stay down.
If you want to get back in the fight you can try these 6 steps that have been proven to be effective in bouncing back from setbacks.
1. Get a Fresh Perspective
Changing your perspective on what is happening can shift the way you are thinking about it and melt away your worries.
Here’s a quick and effective way to shift your perspective:
- The very first thing to do is to focus on a positive outcome and project it at least six months into the future. If you have a goal, then see yourself having already accomplished that goal a few months down the road.
If you’re worried about losing your job, see yourself succeeding at your job in the future. If you’re worried about your child’s health, then see yourself with your child in a healthy state. And so on.
- Next, take an imaginary ride to that point in the future. It’s easy. Just pretend you’ve time-traveled. You’re at that point in the future and all is well. Things turned out good!
- Now for the really helpful part: Imagine “looking back” to the present day and seeing how you did it. Notice what you did along the way, specifically, and how you avoided the pitfalls.
- Now, come back to the present, keeping this future perspective intact.
By doing this exercise (and repeating it!) you will build more confidence and worry less.
2. Clarify your Purpose
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction”. John F. Kennedy.
Overcoming difficult times becomes much easier when you have a clear purpose and reason for doing so. Part of step 1 was to create a vision of a positive outcome and step 2 is to develop that into a clear purpose.
Once you have identified and clarified your purpose for bouncing back you can reflect on it to gain strength and motivation.
Energy is essential for mind and body function but stressful events can very quickly drain you of energy. Without energy you are vulnerable. You will be in a low-resilient state where everything is much harder to deal with. It’s essential that you re-energise.
Firstly, make sure you are getting good quality sleep. Check HERE for top tips. Then make sure you are eating well. Eat quality and varied food that provides you with slow-release energy. Maintain your hydration levels and take regular breaks.
4. Connect with others
When the pressure is on, it’s easy to start thinking that you are on your own with no-one to turn to. People often isolate themselves by disconnecting from their friends and family.
In difficult times it is important to build a support network around you so that you can connect with them on a regular basis. Who are the most positive people you know? Who are your most resilient and capable friends? Who are the good listeners and who make you laugh? Whoever you’ve just thought of are the people you should connect with as often as you can.
5. Focus on what you can Control
If you only had a limited supply of water you wouldn’t waste it watering a dead plant. So why waste your energy on things you can’t control?
For some people, it’s politics. For others, it’s family. For others, it’s global warming. Whatever it is you care about you should look at it objectively and separate it into two parts – what you have the power to influence versus what is beyond your power.
Then focus on what you can do: Vote. Lend a listening ear. Recycle, and reduce your carbon footprint. Do what you can do. Be your own change–but don’t try to make everyone and everything else change. They probably won’t.
6. Be Grateful
Before you go to sleep every night, take a moment to stop worrying about what’s bothering you and what’s wrong and what you don’t have.
Think instead about what you do have. What things in your life do you have to be thankful for? There are big things and small things all around you that you have a lot to be thankful for. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it?
Feeling better about yourself is the best way of all to recharge your mental batteries so you can bounce back.
Thanks for reading my article. If you’d like to know how I can help you with stress management and resilience please get in touch.
Image Credit: Scott Maxworthy