Bouncing Back When There's No "Bounce" Left

By Kate Luther on 6 January 2009 11 comments

We all have our ups and downs. We've all faced some pretty depressing odds and come out on top.

But sometimes, it feels like you just can't get ahead, no matter how hard you try. So what do you do?

Here's how to bounce back when the "bounce" is all gone.

  1. Breathe. When stress rears its ugly head, we tend to hold our breath, figuratively if not literally. We tense up, we dig in, and our body kicks into survival mode while our mind races in sheer panic. What will we do? How will we survive? When will we see the light at the end of the tunnel? But what you need to do, above all else, is breathe. Just breathe.

    Breathing allows you to think, it allows you to focus and it helps combat anxiety, something that more and more of us are claiming as an affliction. So, when you feel that "holy #&@*%" starting to set in, stop. And then breathe.

  2. Count your blessings. A very old friend of mine used to say "so what... they can't take away my birthday." I've come to live by this motto. Before you try to analyze your situation, count your blessings, be it your good health, your loving family or your close network of friends. Do you still have a job? Do you have a roof over your head? If the entire world went to pot, could you go home again or join forces with a friend?

    Seriously... what's the worst that could happen? Would you survive if it did? Its much easier to face your impending disaster when you've got all your "good stuff" backing you up.

  3. Get Real. We all know the serenity prayer - change what you can, accept what you cannot, and be able to know the difference between the two - and its good advice to live by. Life is what it is. Yes, that's one of those "easy to say" statements but make it your mantra and you'll find it much easier to face problems with a clear head and a calm heart.

    Figure out what options are available and then focus on those that will actually "better" your situation. We can all rant and rave for example, but will that really bring us closer to a solution. Anger, fear and doubt will never serve you. Instead, keep your head and look for viable options to turn things around.

  4. Play Offense. If you watch football then you know that the offense's primary objective - besides actually scoring - is to dominate the ball and there's a reason for this strategy. One of course is that if we have the ball, the other team's offense doesn't but more importantly is that running around chasing offensive players makes a defense very, very tired.


    Because the offense knows what play they're about to run - the defense on the other hand is simply "waiting to see what happens" and then reacting as the play unfolds. This can get exhausting very quickly and its equally tiring when its your approach to life.

    Instead of reacting as events unfold around you, try taking the offensive approach. There is nothing more motivating than coming up with a new idea or plan that will make things better. If money is the issue - and isn't it always - then perhaps now is the time to start putting that new business idea of yours into action or take that second job that you've been tossing around. The point is, take control. Get the ball back and start driving down the field.

  5. Formulate a plan. There is nothing more supportive than having a plan of action that you believe in. Pool your resources. Get back to basics. Implement a new budget or start sending out resumes. Whatever it is that you need to do, write it down and start putting things into action. When you have a gameplan, then you have a much better idea of what to expect.

    Yes, the collection calls may still come or the layoff might still happen but you'll be "expecting it" instead of cringing in that "wait and see what happens" mentality.

And last but not least, remember to hang in there and look on the bright side. This isn't after all the first time you've hit a roadblock and I'm willing to bet that it won't be the last. Did you know for example, that we've had around nine recessions (including our current one) plus the Great Depression and that's just in the last one hundred years? And what do you know... somehow, we managed to pull through. I'm not saying its always easy and I'm not saying we shouldn't be concerned, but the reality is that everything works in cycles... And if you're "down" now, then there's no where to go but up.


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Guest's picture

This article is important to remember in times like these when people feel there is no hope. If you can survive through this, you're going to do well 5 years from now.

With formulating a plan, I would add that you need back up plans in case of a change in direction. Have a plan a, b, and c. Write it down. Then you won't have to panic when plan a falls through.

Guest's picture
Moody Blues

Breathe deep the gathering gloom

Watch lights fade from every room

Guest's picture

good health - no
family = no
friends - acquaintances, so no
job- %&%% no

you've cheered me up a lot

Kate Luther's picture

okay Guest, stop and look again - those weren't the only things that could be on your "good stuff" list... quite the contrary, that list is infinite and there is bound to be one thing - just one thing that you can pick that's good... you obviously have internet access so you're not cut off from the world and that's something... seriously... I would definitely add that to my "things to be thankful for", what else can you add? and what can you do about the things you think you're missing? it might take some time to find a new job but what about improving your health or even making a new friend?

i don't know your specific circumstances but that's why i listed the other items as well, specifically #3..

Life isn't always easy and it certainly isn't perfect but again.. it is what it is... how we choose to deal with it is what will make the difference...


Guest's picture

There is more unpredictability and more irrational behavior by businesses and employers. I think it is a combination of the ongoing bad business practices and general panic over the economy.

Keeping the upper hand on what is going on in your job life and finances is more important now than ever. Even if it is just keeping one step ahead or a closer eye on what is going on in those area.

Guest's picture
Mom of 6

I'd add: turn off the negative noise around you. If you are (physically) what you eat, then you are (mentally) what you see and hear. Surround yourself with trees, flowers, and the lovely music of birdsong, even if it's just on a DVD! Turn off the news that prides itself on delivering the ugliest and worst news right to your doorstep 24/7. Go online and look at photos of clouds. Do something that releases your endorphins and makes you feel good. Help others. Don't just sit there like that deflated ball in the photo above!

Kate Luther's picture

I totally agree Mom of 6... I actually did just that the other day - the news is running in the background while I'm cooking dinner and I suddenly realized that the constant gloom and doom chatter was stressing me out so I shut it off...

Sometimes, you gotta' say "enough" and create your own happy place. I know there's plenty of legitimate reasons to be distressed and concerned but man... we need a break from all that "reality" too!

Guest's picture

I needed to remind myself of this today. Thanks.

Guest's picture
Gary Hardin

I'd add another strategy for bouncing back: Get a few small wins under your belt. For example, let's say you don't have an emergency fund. Stash away $500 or $1,000 as quickly as possible, then work on building your fund to suggested levels of 4 to 6 months of expenses. Or if you have several credit cards and can't pay all of them off, at least pay off the one with the smallest amount. Then begin to attack the others.

Guest's picture

Am making a note of them and I'm going to link to them to spread the word.

Fabulously Broke in the City
Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver...

Guest's picture

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