by McKenzie Stalkenburg


Picture by Leah Kelly

Generally speaking, life’s unpredictable setbacks can appear, shock, overwhelm and paralyze you in any given moment, however, how you handle each and every situation determines how and when you can overcome it. Whether you are experiencing divorce, you need to declare bankruptcy, your business idea didn’t work out, or you’ve received a speeding ticket, setbacks appear in all shapes and sizes and have as much importance in your life as you decide to give them. If you are looking for ways to enable you to get through a difficult time the below steps can help.


Thinking about the setback, why, how and when it happened can help you determine what went wrong and conclude what needs to change for you to bounce back. However, it’s crucial to distinguish rationalizing a situation from mulling over it and it dragging yourself into a black vortex of despair. Once you’ve thought about the setback, expressed your emotions and what you think about it, you need to set a time limit of how much emotional energy you will dedicate to a given situation before it’s time to let go and move on. Otherwise, you could keep on replaying an event to no avail which will, in turn, exacerbate your stress levels and negatively affect your health and well being. It's also important to note when thinking about a given scenario you need to pay attention to your self-talk. Refrain from beating yourself up and try and adopt a way of talking that you would use to speak someone else in your situation. Whether you would exhibit strength, resilience or encouragement, you can incorporate that into to your own self-talk.

Take Action By Seeking Help

After you’ve internalized a setback, you should reach out to other people for support such as family friends, experts or a combination of a few to help you overcome your setback. For example, if your partner is critically ill, you may ask friends and family for support, join a support group with other people in the same situation and contact the local government to seek state help. Alternatively, if you have received a DUI, and you have a drinking problem, you may find alcohol anonymous support groups, inform your family so that they may help you regulate your drinking and look out for you and of course contact an attorney as soon as possible, such as Eric Palacios & Associates Law Firm to read you your legal rights. Reaching out to others in similar situations or with the expertise to get you through an event can provide comfort and hope in a crisis that may be too difficult to get through alone.

Expect Setbacks

Although it’s positive and hopeful to lead a life unscathed by setbacks, it’s also unrealistic. Expecting knock backs can help you become more accepting of life's tragic events. By experiencing and learning from past setbacks and anticipating new ones, we can begin to prepare mentally in advance to try and avoid and prevent situations you can control from happening again. For example, if you were involved in a car crash and suffered a serious injury as a result of your driving, you may make a conscious effort to drive safer in the future or receive extra lessons to regain your driving confidence. Whereas if you lost all of your money to gambling, you may quit gambling and search for a different hobby that will not steal your money.

Using the points above to rationalize, seek help and expect and prevent future setbacks are useful tips that can help you bounce back from chaotic events now and in the future.