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5 Ways to Bounce Back From Hard Times

Changing your mindset will make you more resilient when facing adversity.

Key points

  • When life is hard, it can feel unfair and discouraging.
  • Change your mindset to build resilience and empower yourself. Gather your resources and reflect on past challenges you've overcome.
  • Remember that ultimately adversity is what makes us grow.
Kristjan Kotar on Unsplash
Source: Kristjan Kotar on Unsplash

Everyone faces adversity during their lifetime. We live in a world full of challenges and obstacles to overcome. Some people face more adversity than others, though, and it can become hard to make sense of these disparities. However, we can shift our focus away from other people towards overcoming our own obstacles and channeling our experiences into personal growth. We can become stronger, and we can refuse to let hard times keep us from reaching our potential in living our best lives. Below are five ways to keep fighting the good fight and build your resilience when the going gets tough.

  1. Declare that life is not fair. You probably already realize this. But it’s important to say it out loud and keep it in the forefront of your mind when you’re going through a trial. Some people seem to never struggle, and some people get everything they want. Ruminating on this fact will not help you conquer adversity. It will perpetuate the cycle of negative thinking and lead to a cynical attitude. Accept that life is not fair, but that things often do work out with time and effort.
  2. Rethink how you feel about adversity. If you’ve experienced what seems like more than your fair share of adversity, this will be difficult. But thinking about adversity as the means by which you grow stronger, build resilience, and learn how to problem solve will decrease your fear of struggles in the future. If you aren’t afraid of what the future holds because you have the tools and the attitude to boldly face it, it becomes less daunting. You then have the agency to take adversity on with optimism instead of telling yourself you can’t handle it.
  3. Collect your resources. Everyone has coping mechanisms that work best for them—people in their circle they can trust to support them, and personal attributes that help them get through dark times. You may not know your own capacity, so give some thought to what your superpowers are. For example, maybe you have a great social support network that you can access, or you make friends easily and can increase your support system. Perhaps you are athletic or physically strong, and that allows you to be healthy and alert. Maybe you have great analytical skills. Everyone has strengths they can access and build on. Finding yours during hard times will improve your self-confidence and empower you.
  4. Reflect on past challenges that you have overcome. Remembering how you’ve gotten through difficulties in the past and how you navigated them can be a helpful tool and give you more hope and courage. If you find yourself struggling in ways that you’ve never experienced or to a degree that you haven’t faced before, it can still be helpful to reflect on things that you’ve conquered big or small. You want to remember that you have agency, and that you can persevere.
  5. Identify something in your life that is stable/positive. Even during dark times in life, there is almost always something that we can count on. It may be a relationship with a relative, friend, or partner. Perhaps it’s a job that we love. It could be a secure home or living arrangement. Maybe it’s even a hobby that we enjoy. Remind yourself of the things that you can count on when there are a lot of changes going on around you or you are uncertain about the future.

Many of us have gone through circumstances where it feels like the only thing to do is raise the white flag and ask for mercy. You don’t feel like you have an ounce of strength left, and you want to ignore the world and pretend it’s not happening. Remember that most circumstances are temporary, and even if they include a permanent change, you can find the strength and resources to grow and evolve. You’ll never learn how strong and resilient you really are until you face adversity. Instead of hiding under the covers, change your mindset and tell yourself that you’re ready to go.

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