Life, by nature, is full of ups and downs. Some challenges are much harder to get through than others and may cause you to question your ability to cope. If you struggle to recover after experiencing setbacks, there are things you can do to strengthen your resilience. Here are six strategies to bounce back from life’s challenges as a stronger version of yourself.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
In our individualistic, can-do culture, many people are reluctant to ask for help when they need it. That’s especially true when what they require is mental health services. But the stigma surrounding mental health treatment doesn’t make any sense. You wouldn’t hesitate to get help for a broken ankle or sliced finger, so why feel ashamed about seeking help for your mental health? There’s nothing wrong with getting extra support and learning coping strategies when life gets you down.
If you’re dealing with severe depression or having thoughts about harming yourself, seek help immediately. But if you have mild to moderate depression and need assistance managing your thoughts and emotions, consider depression medication. Thanks to telehealth providers, you can get online depression medication without ever stepping foot into a psychiatrist’s office. Within two weeks of starting the medication, you may begin to feel more capable of handling life’s challenges.
2. Practice Gratitude
It may sound like a cliché, but gratitude really can help you overcome many of the problems you face. Gratitude is a powerful emotion that has a positive impact on physical and mental health. Incredibly, living with thankfulness may even help you live longer! Grateful people tend to have lower blood pressure and reduced levels of depression. They also experience increased optimism and slowed neurodegeneration.
If you tend to view the glass as half empty, you’re more likely to feel overwhelmed and discouraged by life’s setbacks. It is during life’s darkest hours that practicing gratitude is most important. To make thankfulness a part of your everyday life, keep a gratitude journal. Every time you feel disheartened, write down five things you’re grateful for. You’ll likely experience an influx of positive emotions that will help you overcome the challenges you currently face.
3. Watch a Comedy
Laughter really is the best medicine. If you don’t believe it, turn on your favorite comedy when you’re feeling down. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself chuckling even if you were crying just moments ago. Resilient people don’t take themselves or their circumstances too seriously. While flippancy is never advisable, having a good sense of humor can make the darkest circumstances look a bit brighter.
Resilient people tend to look for funny and cheerful moments in life instead of wallowing in self-pity. You can become more resilient by allowing yourself to have fun even when everything seems grim. While it can be therapeutic to cry, it can be equally therapeutic to enjoy a healthy belly laugh.
4. Reflect on Past Victories
Sometimes the challenges mounting up in front of you look like mountains you can’t possibly climb. When you feel completely inadequate to the task at hand, briefly look behind you. Reflect on some of the hard situations you’ve dealt with in the past. You obviously came out victorious in those situations, or you wouldn’t be where you are today.
If possible, think of a past situation that’s similar to the one you’re currently facing. What strategies and strengths did you use to get through it? Try using those same strategies and strengths to help you overcome your present situation. For example, the same coping mechanisms that got you through a past breakup could help when dealing with the death of a loved one.
5. Recognize the Power of Choice
Life’s circumstances may be outside of your control, but the way you respond to them isn’t. Resilient people know they are always responsible for how they react to events. Instead of being burdened by this responsibility, they are empowered by it. If you feel totally helpless in your current situation, recognize that you are in charge of your life. No one else can make your decisions for you.
Instead of seeing yourself as the victim of your circumstances, embrace the idea that you’re a strong and capable conqueror. Choose not to let negative emotions or fears leave you immobilized. It’s OK to acknowledge undesirable feelings and situations. But remember not to let them control you.
6. Make Time for People You Love
Some individuals have an unfortunate tendency to push away those they love when they’re dealing with hardships. If you’re one of those people, you’re only hurting yourself by withdrawing from your greatest source of support. When you’re running the hardest stretches of life’s race, having fans on the sidelines can be remarkably motivating. Make a conscious effort to embrace the best people in your life when the going gets rough.
Surrounding yourself with friends and family is a great way to turn a gray outlook into a sunny one. When you’re dealing with a difficulty that seems insurmountable, your loved ones will help you recognize your strengths. They’ll cheer you on when you conquer a bad situation. They’ll also be there to comfort and console you when you fail, as everyone does from time to time.
No one gets through this adventure called life without picking up some scratches and scars along the way. Just remember that scratches heal and scars fade with time. No matter how bad a situation seems in the moment, things will eventually get better. Use the strategies above to bounce back from life’s challenges and become an even stronger version of yourself.