5 Ways to Deal with Setbacks in Your Healing Journey
Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.
-Lyrics from “Pick Yourself Up”-
At The Younique Foundation, we liken your healing process to a journey. And, just like a journey, there will be setbacks along the way. There are times when it feels like all progress is lost in one bad moment or incident, but you don’t give up the final destination just because you hit a bump in the road.
There are ways to make sure that you can overcome the bumps on your journey without losing your way entirely. Like anything, it’s a skill that you can develop over time. Here are a few hints and tips to make sure that dealing with a bad day doesn’t lead you to thinking it’s a bad life.
1. Find a healthy way to cope.
Too often, the way that we cope with difficult situations is by indulging our worst impulses – drinking, eating junk food, or doing things that are emotionally destructive. Find something that gives you comfort and is good for you. Pick up a new sport, write out your feelings, or volunteer at an animal shelter – whatever makes you see the world in a better way.
2. Avoid the words “always” and “never.”
When things go wrong, it’s easy to get caught up in extreme thinking, but it’s rarely helpful to generalize your experiences. Saying things like “I always do this…” or “I’ll never find the right person…” aren’t going to make you feel better, and they aren’t very productive either. Instead turn those thoughts around into positive declarations.
3. Talk to someone you trust.
Sometimes the easiest way to work through something is to talk it out. Whether you call your therapist, your best friend, or a coworker whose been through a similar thing before, find someone you can talk to about what’s going on.
4. Focus on the positive.
There have been studies about the power of positive thinking, gratitude, and writing as a way of healing. Utilize those tools to your advantage by thinking of all the wonderful things in your life. If it’s an especially bad day, just focus on ONE positive thing, but be as specific as possible. Instead of saying/thinking/writing “I’m grateful for my comfortable bed,” you should go into more detail. “I’m grateful that I have a large bed that is the perfect softness for my body. I’m glad I have soft pillows and a blanket that was a gift from a friend that always gives me comfort.” See the difference? One is more general and the other is something only YOU have.
5. Disconnect or reconnect.
For some people the best way to handle something is to turn off the phone, computer, and TV and spend some time alone. For others, they need to have loving and supportive people around them. Find what works best for you – and what’s healthiest for you – and do it.
Setbacks don’t have to derail your hard-earned progress. Although it’s hard to see while you’re in the middle of the struggle, they can lead you to greater healing in the long-run. No matter what you’re dealing with, make sure to deal with it in a healthy way and enlist help when you need it. Use the Faith Strategy to Reclaim Hope to remind you what you’re working toward. You’re amazing and you can do it!