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55 ways to bounce back from (just about) anything


Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. ~ Confucius

recovery chalkboard


By now, you know how life works.

We stand up and we fall down again, just like a toddler learning how to walk.

There are many ways to pick yourself back up and I’m presenting you with 55 of them to get you started.

Use one or two that you like the most or mix and match to your heart’s content.

Text in this color means that it is linked to a helpful article on that topic so make sure to check it out.

Okay, go get your bounce on!


1. Accept the reality of your situation. Face the facts – it’s happening.

2. Realize that change is always going to be in your life. Expect it.

“I always thought things would calm down and get easier. I’m beginning to think that’s not going to happen.” Phoebe Howard, age 99.

3. Learn to be an optimist.

4. Be nice to yourself. Treat yourself as you would your best friend.

5. Remember that everyone has flaws. Everyone. You’re a part of the human race so you’re bound to make mistakes.

6. Practice mindfulness by noticing your thoughts and feelings, but have no judgment about them.

7. Resistance is like a Chinese Finger Trap. The more you struggle, the tighter you’re held in the trap.

8. Be flexible and open in your way of thinking. It will allow you to problem-solve more effectively and accept your reality more easily.

9. Have a tribe. Social support is absolutely essential in bouncing back in life.

10. Talk about your difficulties with trusted friends and family members. You don’t have to tough it out. Talk it out instead.

11. Let go of judging your thoughts and feelings. Just notice them. Read Taming Your Gremlin.

12. See if there is a gift hidden within your troubles. The sand that irritates the oyster eventually becomes a pearl.

13. Develop post-traumatic growth. The basics are being optimistic and framing your struggles as meaningful (finding the gifts and opportunities in them.)

14. Look at problems from different angles.

15. Remember that you’ve made it through tough times before. And you’re still here to talk about it.

16. Instead of wasting energy resisting what’s happening in your life, accept what is and use that energy to enjoy the good things in your world.

17. Think about kaleidoscopes. The pattern is beautiful, but when it gets shaken up, a wonderful new pattern can emerge.

18. Take a break.

19. Find something that makes you laugh really hard.

20. Have a mentor. Find someone you trust and admire and use them as your go-to person for advice, support, and guidance.

21. Remember that your thoughts aren’t always true.

22. Remember that it’s okay to have fun, smile, and laugh sometimes even when you are in the worst of situations.

23. Just because you struggle with something doesn’t mean you’re not resilient. It means you’re human.

24. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone.

25. Sometimes things really do suck. No one said you have to like the difficulty in front of you.

26. Look up. Get out of your head and actually look up from time to time. What do you see that you didn’t notice before?

27. Create positive emotions.

28. Get a new perspective.

29. Practice acts of kindness.

30. Once a week, write down what you’re grateful for.

31. Take action to solve the problem rather than just ruminating about it.

32. Stop ruminating.

33. Savor the good stuff. The next time you see a beautiful sunset, stop and really see it.

34. Don’t resist.

35. Drop your struggle against change. We want to feel like we’re flexible and open and yet, when change arrives, we resist it as though it were the devil.

36. Do what is in front of you.

37. Embrace your shadow. We all have a dark side – don’t run from yours.

38. Remember that falling apart means you can put yourself back together any way you’d like.

39. Express yourself. Don’t try to stuff your negative thoughts.

40. Focus on the positive rather than predict the negative.

41. Have mercy on yourself.

42. Distract yourself from your troubles for awhile. Healthy stuff only!

43. Manage your Inner Critic.

44. Remember that this is how it feels today. It won’t be like this all the time.

45. Get over fear of failure.

46. Remember that Suffering = Pain x Resistance.

47. Adopt a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. See failures as opportunities to learn rather than unmanageable setbacks.

48. Believe that life is meaningful. “Those who have a ‘why’ to live for can bear with almost any ‘how.’” Frederich Nietzsche.

49. Don’t take things personally. That’s what pessimists do. You’re trying to be an optimist, remember?

50. Increase your creativity to be able to improvise solutions better. Read A Whack on the Side of the Head.

51. Be willing to grow.

52. Let it go.

53. Stay away from shame. Watch Dr. Brene Brown’s Tedx talk.

54. Change what you can, accept what you can’t.

55. Breathe.


Which of these works best for you? Or do you have other ideas that I may have missed?


If you enjoyed this post, please ‘like’ it on Facebook and/or give it a Tweet! Thanks!


And don’t forget to subscribe to Bounce by filling out the short form above on the right. You’ll also get my FREE ebook Bounce Back! 5 keys to survive and thrive through life’s ups and downs.



  1. Such an awesome list! I think could easily change my life with just 1-5 and there are so many more.
    Lori Lynn Smith recently posted…Make it easy to Pin your posts on PinterestMy Profile

  2. Gary Korisko says:

    Wow, Bobbi.

    Not only a useful post, but this one just went in my Evernote so I can go back to all those links over and over again. What a great resource!
    Gary Korisko recently posted…Comment on Reboot Authentic’s Best of The Web by Gary KoriskoMy Profile

  3. Priska says:

    I won’t be using one or two but all 55. There is enough for me to bounce through the whole of 2013.

  4. Lori says:

    I love how the Universe speaks to us in many ways. I just joined a Mindfulness class and this validates many of the principles I am learning. One thing you could add to this list (but it will make it an uneven 51) is to practice “a beginners mind”. Try not to look at a situation or a person as if you already know what is going to happen. Cheers

    • Bobbi says:

      Lori, that’s a really good one to add to the list. “Beginner’s mind” is actually a blessing to have although most of us strive for “expert mind” right away. To look at things with a fresh perspective always helps.

  5. Lee J Tyler says:

    Wow. Bookmarking this one! It’s stellar. I like #27 Create positive emotions. We are all responsible for the way we effect others. That’s my mantra at least. Love the post.
    Lee J Tyler recently posted…Have You Lost It Completely?My Profile

  6. farouk says:

    wow, that’s a very good dose of motivation in a short period of time, impressive work
    farouk recently posted…How to earn a six figure incomeMy Profile

  7. Rinkesh says:

    Oops…Such a big list. I seriously feel that if one follow even few of them may be 10 or 15, that will change hi/her life forever.
    Rinkesh recently posted…Geothermal EnergyMy Profile

  8. Steve says:

    Great list. There are so many ways to pick yourself back up after you’ve been knocked down. You included a lot of great links too.
    Steve recently posted…The Last Day of Your LifeMy Profile

  9. I think I’m going to print this out and post on my wall! Thanks Bobbe. Awesome reminders. And the core message to me is: just let it go & move on!!
    Sarah | Holistic Hot Sauce recently posted…Three Words For Letting GoMy Profile

  10. […] 55 ways to bounce back from (just about) anything. This isn’t directly related to finance but you can learn a few useful lessons here. […]

  11. Hey Bobbi…great list. I smiled when I read the quote at #2… also loved the kaleidoscope, and the one about sometimes things really do suck. Yes so true..and….if we could just learn to say and it’s OK or its all good or so what? and move on. Thanks for your post.
    Celeste Smucker recently posted…Reboot Your Healing Process to Live Younger LongerMy Profile

  12. Nancy Lang says:

    Fabulous list to forward to anyone we know! Thank you!

  13. Galen Pearl says:

    As others have noted, this is a power packed list and we could choose any several of these to work on! It was encouraging to see that I already do many of these things, and now I have some good ideas to add to my practices. I especially appreciate your focus on resilience.
    Galen Pearl recently posted…Step Away from the ThoughtMy Profile

  14. Chris Akins says:

    Great post and great list. Two of the most important things to remember are: 1. there is no failure, only feedback (you can’t fail as long as you are still learning and trying); and 2. you are not your behavior. It is easy to get down on yourself when you don’t live up to your standards (or those imposed on you from others). But with the right perspective you can bounce back from anything.

    Chris Akins recently posted…Announcing the new LifeSkills Development ProgramMy Profile

  15. What a thought-provoking list, Bobbi. Sharing this list with my subscribers, I absolutely love it! My favorite is the kaleidoscope analogy. We don’t always have to wait for change to happen to us, sometimes we can just shake that baby up ourselves for a different perspective!
    Courtney Lebdzinski recently posted…Passion Assassins: 6 Ways that Wheat Kills Your CharismaMy Profile

  16. My favs are definitely 19 and 30! You can never go wrong with a good belly laugh and lots of gratitude.

    45 and 52 are the trickier ones for me; working on those ones every day!
    Kimberley Grabas recently posted…21 Platform Building Insights from Authors and Experts Who Excel at ItMy Profile

  17. Frances Mannion says:

    Really good list. Like to offer the closer to your sense of self the failure lies, the more it can shatter. Find bouncing back helped by listing aspects of the failure and asking God to take the lead on getting the better of it all. Particularly like your suggestion on post traumatic growth, instead of stress. Teaches you persistence, patience and resilience. Thank you.

  18. Hello Bobbi,

    I just found your blog – came here from your touching and profound article at Pick The Brain. The first thing I saw here was my favorite quote (…here is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in). Mmmm….

    After years of trying just about everything, I usually stick to embracing what is (including my resistance at times :-)).

    I just bookmarked the 55 suggestions, for future inspiration for myself and for others.

    It’s really nice to meet you –

    Halina (born in ’55 if that means anything :-))

    • Bobbi says:

      Hi Halina and welcome! Cohen’s quote is a huge favorite of mine, too. I’m glad you bookmarked The Big List, as I call it, and hope it’s helpful for you. Welcome to Bounce!

  19. Jess says:

    Wow, that is quite the list! As others have said, you could easily spend a year embracing 5 or 10 items from the list, but 55 should get you through just about anything! Thanks for posting.

  20. Shawn Ryan says:

    This is a great post! I love how useful this can be for a long time with so many links to other articles. I like the last one… Just breathe. If you take it a step further and start talking about meditating while you focus on your breathing, you can incorporate several of these bounce back tactics into one. Like being flexible and open in your way of thinking and letting go of your judging thoughts and feelings just to name a couple.
    Keep it up!
    Shawn Ryan recently posted…Creating affirmations for successMy Profile

  21. Bella Erston says:

    As I started reading I found your post really uplifting and motivating. As I continues I became overwhelmed – there were just too many options provided. For me this would have worked better as a series of posts over several weeks.
    I don’t mean this as a criticism – it is a brilliant post. Just at this time in my life it is a bit much to take in.

  22. Sue says:

    I absolutely LOVE this list! There are several that I use, & a few I need to. #47 is one of my favorites. Thanks for being here!
    Sue recently posted…Quotes for March 3-7, 2014My Profile

  23. Annie says:

    This popped up today as a Facebook memory, just when I needed it. Thanks, Bobbi.

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Bobbi Emel is a therapist who helps people in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Mountain View and the greater Bay Area manage their stress and develop their strengths.
She is effective in helping people dealing with anxiety, worry and grief; and also those who want to improve their effectiveness and performance.