How to Bounce Back from Life’s Curveballs

There are a few things I know for sure and one of them is that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. Curveballs are thrown, obstacles are met, and well, shit happens – and it’s on us to adapt and overcome.

Some of us get stuck, riddled in the what happened and paralyzed by the circumstances themselves while others thrive. The difference between the stuck ones and the ones thriving is all a matter of their perspectives.  For me, I start in a place of deep introspection, usually too much which I call analysis paralysis and then I transition into acceptance.

Getting to a place of perspective, like Charlie Chaplin illustrates, is the real work. This is probably the thing I know most about.  I’ve been dealt some shoddy hands over the past few years and I’ve been given lemons one too many times but no matter what I always bounce back.

While resilience might just be in my true nature, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take conscious effort and hard work to get (back) to a positive place.

So, how do you bounce back? What do you do when things suck?

1. Honour It

Before you can even think about getting to a positive place you need to honour how you feel. “Self-validation is the recognition and acceptance of your own thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviors as understandable.”

When we take a minute to acknowledge how we feel, we validate it thus making it real. It’s like saying to yourself, this shitty thing happened and its unfair. It’s affirming to yourself that in fact you deserve want better for yourself.

Let yourself feel all the feelings. Write about it. Cry about it. Sweat it out. Yell and punch it out. Feel. It. All.

2. Expire It

All things must come to an end and that includes a good pity party, but knowing when to move on is an art.

In the last nine months I’ve found myself in two separate funks. One was postpartum blues which was a deep, dark hole I was in for the three weeks after delivering my son. The second was discovering I had a blood clot this past Spring.

Each of these experiences were somber periods but one thing remained: always in the corner of my mind I had the desire to get out of it. Like a ticking clock, I set a timer and planned to move on.

You can know when to go move on by paying attention to social cues that your loved ones may offer up. Or, by paying attention to your own behaviour.  Sometimes you’ll notice that you’ll adjust your behaviour because you should be “sad” still; like you’re keeping the hurt alive beyond its expiration date.

There’s no set grieving period I can tell you about so pay attention to yourself and consider how much time you think is reasonable and take it from there.

3. Find the Good 

This is likely the hardest step but in actuality the most important. If you want to get out of the funk & get something out of the funk you’re gonna have to work for it.

. It’s something to hang onto and science tells us when we practice seeing the good in hard situations it leads to healthier, happier lives.

It’s worth the work. Each time you practice finding the good, the next time you’re challenged to it’ll be a hell of a lot easier.


How do you get through hard times? Tell me about it in the comments. 





Photo Credit: Stephen Daws

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