In today’s blog post, we answer an interesting question, ‘How to pick yourself back up?’ We start by taking a look at some of the most common yet difficult situations an individual may have to go through in their life. Then, we move ahead to understand the importance of picking oneself up after a set back. Finally, we move to the different ways in which one can pick themselves back up.
How To Pick Yourself Back Up?
A major task after a failure or a set back is picking oneself up and being able to function again. People may feel overwhelmed, sad and frustrated when the goals are not met or when they experience a loss. A worse case scenario would also mean experiencing depressive symptoms, following the event. In such situations, it becomes absolutely necessary to pick oneself up and make progress towards healing.
Some common yet difficult situation that people face:
Everyone goes through some setback and loss in their lifetime. The situation may be a major setback for some, while for some it may be a minor pitfall. Let us take a look at some of the commonly occurring difficult situations that individuals go through:
Experiencing the death of a loved one can be associated with trauma, hopelessness, emptiness and a sense of loss. It is a deeply personal experience and each person may choose to react differently to the loss. Death of a loved one can occur unexpectedly or the death can be anticipated, such as due to a prolonged illness. Despite the nature of the event, it does take a toll on the individual
Abuse of any kind, that is; physical, emotional, psychological, economical or sexual can lead to the person losing their integrity, self-esteem, self-worth and in extreme cases even the will to live. Victims of abuse experience PTSD like symptoms such as nightmares, reexperiencing the trauma, flashbacks,severe anxiety and mistrust.
Divorce or separation is yet another setback that both the partners in a marriage can experience. There can be several reasons for a divorce such as infidelity, lack of communication, lack of compatibility, abuse, financial issues and conflict. Divorce can lead to the separated partners experiencing stress, a sense of loss of a relationship and uncertainty about the future.
Illness, especially a chronic illness can serve as a major setback and can be overwhelming for the patients as well as their family members. Especially with terminal illnesses, the physical illness is often accompanied by a sense of despair, depressive symptoms, inability to process the feelings and uncertainty about the future. It is also accompanied by denial and anger in certain cases.
Accidents also bring about a lot of changes in a person’s life, especially when the injury is associated with the loss of a limb, the development of a disease of a major degeneration
- Losing a job:
An individual’s sense of identity is often associated with his/her job and career. However, losing one’s career or job can lead to a loss of identity and status. If the lay off is unexpected, it can lead to feelings of anger, surprise and sadness. There would also be an underlying anxiety about the finances and the future, especially when the person has a family to support. The person may also feel as though they are losing their abilities and competence.
Why is it important to ‘pick oneself up?’
Picking oneself up, more fundamentally termed as resilience, is necessary for the individual to continue living their normal lives. Loss is often accompanied by grief, despair, a feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness and a loss of meaning and purpose in life. However, when we try to be resilient and try to pick ourselves up, we make an attempt to protect ourselves from getting too overwhelmed by the loss and the events around us.
- Resilience is not only associated with protecting us from an overwhelming sense of loss, but also promotes mental health, including the cardiovascular health, immunity and sleep quality.
- Being resilient also helps in reducing the high risk behaviours such as smoking, consuming alcohol, abusing drugs and engaging in anti-social activities.
- Picking oneself up or being resilient also builds the individual’s problem solving capacity, improves decision making, promotes a positive orientation and helps re-evaluate the events in a different perspective.
- Building resilience has also shown to reduce symptoms of PTSD
- Resilience also helps the individual to manage their negative emotions better and experience more positive emotions.
There are several factors that predict the development of resilience in a person such as:
- Personality characteristics
Development of resilience is associated with the personality traits of optimism, perseverance, cooperation, self-directedness and also with lower levels of harm avoidance.
- Social support
A good social support includes friends, family, peers, teachers and other significant people in the person’s life.
- A positive view of the self
Positive view of the self is associated with seeing oneself as being worthy of good support, happiness and care.
- An internal locus of control
An internal locus of control essentially means that the individual believes that the events in his or her life are a consequence of their own actions and decisions and should not be attributed to any external factor such as luck or fate.
- Emotional intelligence and emotional regulation
Emotional intelligence can be understood as the ability to understand, manage and regulate one’s own emotions in positive ways.
This often leads us to an important question, can we develop resilience?
Yes, it is very well possible to develop resilience. The Self- Developed Resilience is a form of resilience that is built through conscious and concentrated efforts of the individual. It develops as a result of the awareness of one’s situation, being conscious of the opportunities for self-awareness and self-development and then carefully working towards it.
How to pick oneself up after a setback?
The various ways of picking oneself up after a traumatic event is the first step towards building resilience and thriving in the face of the problem. Here are a few ways through which this can be facilitated.
- Using coping self-statements:
Coping self- statements involve repeating a statement, a verse, a quote that can help a person calm himself/herself down, and bring in clarity in thoughts. The statements can help the person ground themselves when they experience hypervigilance, anxiety, uncertainty, anger or sadness.
- Challenging the negative self-talk:
Traumatic events often bring about a significant amount of self-doubt, self-criticism and a negative self-talk. Challenging these negative beliefs can help the person break free from the cycle of thoughts that are unproductive and can help in moving ahead towards a solution to the problem.
- Taking care of the self:
It will not be possible for the person to overcome the ordeal unless the person has a sound mind and body to do so. This needs taking care of the self which can range from something as basic as wearing clean clothes and eating healthy food, exercising and sleeping well, to grooming oneself, cleaning one’s room, taking up a new hobby or an activity, reviving old hobbies, socialising or taking a social media break.
Self care will also include taking a break from people or events that serve as a reminder of the trauma, changing habits and discarding reminders of the person or event.
- Seeking professional help:
Although the individual has the capacity to rise above the trauma and pick themselves up, they should not be hesitant to seek professional help when required. Seeking professional help can assist the person to have a new and diverse perspective about the issue, can help them find newer ways of approaching the problem and would give them a safe space to discuss their problems.
- Maintaining a gratitude journal:
When faced with a setback, we often develop a tendency to selectively focus on the negatives, without considering the positives. Maintaining a gratitude journal gives the person the chance to remember all the things, people and memories that the person has retained despite the loss.
The gratitude journal also helps in honoring the small but significant positive events that may have taken place during the day.This provides the person with a chance to shift their focus from the negatives and helps in controlling the rumination.
- Differentiating situation from person:
Although difficult, it is imperative to understand that the difficult situation was a person’s life and not his/her identity. When the person starts combining the situation with the self, he or she is more likely to be critical about the self, be judgemental and and engage in self blame. By understanding that the situation is different from the person, he or she can turn helplessness into resourcefulness.
- Giving yourself the permission to express the loss:
Being resilient or picking oneself up from loss does not mean that the person should not address the emotions associated with the loss. On the contrary, addressing the situation and grieving the loss can be more helpful in building resilience than suppressing the emotions. Expressing the emotions can help the person develop a better understanding of the event.
- Having anchors:
Anchors refer to the different, significant people in the person’s life that can be approached for support in the time of crisis. These anchors provide emotional support, help the person grieve and and provide alternative courses of actions to the current problem. They can be friends, colleagues, family members, mentors, mental health professionals and even pets.
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Frequently asked questions:
Why do we need resilience?
Resilience is important for several reasons. It provides us with a buffer against challenges, helps maintain balance and protects mental health.
What makes a person more resilient?
People can become more resilient through their optimism, their values, religious and spiritual beliefs and cognitive and emotional flexibility along with good social support.
How do I know if I am resilient?
Resilient people take responsibility for their actions and they do not blame others for their problems. Developing a healthy sense of responsibility saves the person from experiencing self-pity.
What are the different categories of resilience?
There are four types of resilience
Is resilience a skill or quality?
Resilience is a skill as it is defined by outlook and response. It is an adaptive mode of thinking which needs to be developed gradually through practice and persistence. The person’s surroundings also determine the extent to which the person will develop resilience. People living in harsh environments are likely to be more resilient due to the extent of ordeals they face on a day to day basis.
In today’s blog post, we answered an interesting question, ‘How to pick yourself back up?’ We started by taking a look at some of the most common yet difficult situations an individual may have to go through in their life. Then, we moved ahead to understand the importance of picking oneself up after a set back. Finally, we moved to the different ways in which one can pick themselves back up.
We hope that the article served its purpose in providing an understanding into resilience and the importance of picking oneself up from the situations that they have been put in. Do reach out for any queries or comments.
Eley, D. S., Cloninger, C. R., Walters, L., Laurence, C., Synnott, R., & Wilkinson, D. (2013). The relationship between resilience and personality traits in doctors: implications for enhancing well being. PeerJ, 1, e216.