10 strategies for bouncing back from adversity

We all know that life is unfair.

But that doesn’t really make it any easier when we’re facing heartbreak and misfortune left and right.

So how can we bounce back from adversity and come out stronger?

Here are ten ways to do it:

1) Take care of yourself

It might be a bit of a struggle to care for yourself when it feels like everything is falling apart around you. You might find yourself thinking “why should I even bother?” or “eh, it doesn’t matter.”

But no—shove those thoughts aside and pamper yourself.

You matter, and if you are to rise up from the pit you’ve fallen into, you must learn to love yourself like a motherf*cker.

Start with the basics: try to eat well even if you have no appetite, go out for a walk even if all you really want to do is curl in bed all day, and take cold showers when you feel down.

But equally important is your spirit. Don’t wallow in self-pity. Distract yourself for a while—do your hobbies, meet your friends… do whatever you can to take your mind off things.

Indulge yourself. Don’t let any doubts about whether or not you deserve good things get in the way.

2) Accept what happened—fully

You can’t truly bounce back without acceptance.

I had said earlier that you should distract yourself. However, you should only distract yourself long enough until you’ve calmed down.

The moment you can think clearly, you should move on to the second step—acceptance. And for that, you need to face whatever adversity you have faced or are facing and accept that it happened.

This is easier said than done, of course. Acceptance isn’t just something you can rush through in a couple of days or weeks. Some people take months or even years to make their way through it.

You have to experience all the five stages of grief in order for you to arrive at a point where you can say you’ve truly accepted your circumstance fully.

So let those emotions course through you. Grieve and get mad, but don’t wallow too long in it.

3) Change how you view failure and suffering

A lot of us have a very bad relationship with failure and suffering. We convince ourselves that if we fail or go through hard times, it’s because there’s something wrong with us and that it’s a reflection of “poor character.”

And what happens then is that every setback will bring you down and keep you down.

What sets successful people apart from the rest is that they think of failure differently.

Failure, to them, are just stepping stones to greatness and success. And suffering, even if undesirable, is just a normal part of life. Think like them, and instead see your failures as opportunities to learn how to do better next time.

Once you start seeing failure this way, they become much easier to handle, and much less terrifying.

You’ll be more willing to take risks, to laugh from your failures, and learn from them. They’re all just part of life anyhow, so it’s all the better if you come to live with them.

4) Shield yourself from negativity

happy 2 10 strategies for bouncing back from adversity

You can’t heal well if you’re surrounded by negative nancies.

You know the kind—the people who do nothing but complain over the pettiest things and see the worst in everything—and they are little more than vampires draining you of your energy.

They’re the last people you want to hang around with, especially when you’re in an especially bad state, so stay away from them… or at least take their words with a grain of salt.

You’re not stable at this time and any word they say could affect you in a bad way.

And here’s the thing: This includes you.

If you’re always negative, try not to stay too long inside your head. Don’t overthink and don’t beat yourself up.

5) Change the narrative

Remember that this part of your life right now—the part that sucks so hard that it makes you feel totally hopeless of the future—is just a small chapter of your entire life story.

I mean, look back at your life thus far. How many times have you experienced hardships that turned out to be irrelevant or even “blessings in disguise” in the end?

Do go find time to sit in a corner and write your life story again.

Did you just go through a messy break-up? Perhaps you weren’t meant to be and it’s better for you to have parted ways now rather than waste any more time with something that simply wouldn’t have worked out anyways.

You will see that your current adversity could still lead to something better…and that’s because life goes on and you still can lead it to any direction you want.

6) Surround yourself with people who believe in you

It’s not enough that you stay away from negativity, you have to surround yourself with positive, supportive people too.

You have to be with people who believe you can get back on your feet again and will happily go out of their way to help you out.

There’s this idea where, to be strong, you need to weather tough times all by yourself like some rough and rugged cowboy.

But the thing is that this ideal is simply foolish—even the strongest of us will fall apart without another to help hold us up.

A gentle, supportive voice can do a lot to help you get back to your feet, and the more voices there are in support of you, the better.

7) Convince yourself that you dodged a bullet

So let’s be real—the life you dreamed of might not be the one that’s good for you. You don’t know just how badly things would have gone down in the future, even if things seem right in the present.

It would hurt like hell, for example, if you find your fiance suddenly canceling your engagement. You’ll be left grappling about whether you can love again, or if you can ever trust another with your heart.

But try to see it another way, because there’s a silver lining here.

Perhaps the two of you simply wouldn’t have worked out anyways, and it’s better for you to break it off now instead of later when you already have kids.

Or let’s say that you got laid off by your rude and overbearing boss. Sure, you’ll have to look for a new job, but at least you have a chance to look for a better working environment now.

The next time you feel down because of your misfortune, think of the many things it could have saved you from. And the many doors it will open.

8) Get inspiration from those who made it

how to practise empathy 10 strategies for bouncing back from adversity

It’s hard to feel like suffering will ever end when you’re stuck in the mud and everything you do feels like it’s in vain.

Even knowing that all you have to do is to keep trying might not help as much as you wished it did.

What might help, however, is to listen to those who had made it through dark times before and came back stronger than ever.

Read about people who have made it after a series of failures. Watch inspirational stories on Youtube. Or talk to someone who actually did.

They are living proof that you’ll be in a good place, eventually. And that the adversity you’re experiencing now is just leading you there.

9) Latch on a plan

Of course, make sure that you have grieved properly and picked yourself up. Jump to this step a bit too early and you’ll end up making plans that you’ll eventually regret.

Start by imagining what your life would be like by the end of this year.

What will you look like? What skills will you learn? What adventures will you start? What bad habits will you cut?

And then when you feel like it, start thinking of new goals and plan how you can achieve them. Now. you don’t have to achieve any big goal right away. Start small, and don’t rush.

Take your time in planning out your future. In fact, enjoy the process. Draw cute doodles while you plan out your life, and eat a tub of icecream while doing it.

10) Get excited about your brand new life

Treat this as a brand-new start…well, because it is.

But you might think “There’s nothing to be excited about. I could never do anything right.”

Mute that voice in your head. Seriously. Put that on mute.

We have to keep the faith that good things are still coming our way because…to be honest, what is your choice? You cannot sulk and just give up.

You have to force yourself to imagine a better future…at least at first. Because you are the best person who can help yourself, and you do so by believing that anything is still possible.

Last words

Hard times will always keep on coming so long as we’re alive. That’s why you should never give up or let these troubles put you down.

You’ll make it—especially with YOUR help— and you’ll eventually look back to this day and thank it for leading you to the right path.

No matter how hard things may look like now, things will eventually look up for you. That’s a guarantee.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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