Why is it that whenever everything seems to be going right, suddenly, your whole world falls apart? There's been some terribly sad stories in the press this week, from bereavements, to struggles for survival and strikes over changes that threaten people's livelihoods. When you have a setback of any kind, you get a rush of thoughts and emotions, you try everything to stop them but they keep flooding in. But how do you get back into the good space again?
First here are a few things to avoid:
- Falling apart
- Don't blame others .It might make you feel a little better in the short term, but long term, it's damaging to relationships and doesn't' solve the problem.
- Don't blame yourself. It will just make you feel bad and damage your self-esteem.
- DON'T try to numb out. You know what I'm talking about. Eating chocolate, having a drink because you've "had an awful day", watching TV or surfing the internet. It distracts you but doesn't solve the problem.
Instead, I'd rather focus on ways in which you can simply and easily recover from any set back. Here are my favourites:
1. Give yourself some time to really feel what you feel
We get socialised to block out and numb out our emotions, to pretend not to feel them. This means we don't give ourselves time to feel our disappointment, upset, anger or whatever label the emotion is. So take some time out and really allow yourself to feel what you feel. Don't try to block it or stop it, just feel it.
2. Remember that all setbacks are there to help you learn and grow
As the emotions start to ease off, start to ask yourself some questions that will empower you. Things like: What could I do differently next time? How can I change this? What do I need to learn from this? How can I use this to grow bigger than this problem? Everything that happens has its root cause somewhere in the past. It might be a thought, a word, or an action. Ask the right questions and you can move away from being "problem focused" to feeling OK no matter what is going on.
3. Develop a sense of trust that all is well
Nothing is ever lost - it just gets moved around. So you never really lose anything. It will come back to you. You WILL recover. Don't think about things in terms of "mistakes". Imagine that nothing is a mistake, that everything is unfolding perfectly. Ask yourself, "what if this was the best thing that ever happened to me? What would a likely outcome have to be for that to be true?" Even if that doesn't happen, just thinking it will make you feel better in a positive way.
4. Find the hidden opportunity
Napoleon Hill says that opportunity usually comes disguised as a setback. So dig a bit deeper and find the hidden opportunity. If you do this you will be one of the rare few people who do this - and those rare few end up being the successful ones.
5. Consider doing some personal development work to improve your emotional resilience
Just like exercising to improve your body, you can improve your emotional and mental strength too with coaching, which is specifically designed to move people forward in all ways.