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Need to Bounce Back? Get Rid of These 5 Things

In my lengthy career in mental health, I’ve noticed that there are several key stumbling blocks that keep many people from bouncing back when adversity hits.Giving a flick

If you can get rid of these things, life will open up for you and become less of a struggle.

1. Thinking that you’ll get to a point where life doesn’t change.

Admit it. If you’re like most of us, you secretly think that some day when you have everything figured out and every material thing you need, then you won’t have to deal with change any longer.

Well, as my friend’s grandmother said when she reached the age of 99,

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

Part of being able to bounce back well is learning and accepting that change is a part of life. If you or your circumstances aren’t changing occasionally, you’re probably dead.

Really. Think about it.

So, instead of resisting change or hoping in vain that one day everything will stay the same, expect that change is going to happen and learn to roll with it and even find the good stuff that comes along with change.

2. Believing that you can change someone else.

I receive a lot of emails from readers of my other blog, Bounce, and I can’t tell you how many say something like,

“I need to learn how to make my husband happy.”

“Can you tell me how to make my boss appreciate me more?”

“My girlfriend is too smothering. How do I get her to loosen up?”

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a happier husband, more appreciative boss, and less smothering girlfriend. The problem comes in when we think that we have some kind of ability to change them.

Remember that the only person we can really change is ourselves. So, when you’re going through a tough time with someone, the best way to bounce back is to think about what you can do in the situation, not what they should do or become.

Find out what you really want and need and express that to the person using “I” language:

I need to know what’s happening with you. You seem unhappy and I feel uncomfortable around you. Can we talk?”

“I have been working very hard on this project and need feedback from you. Can we make an appointment to meet to review my work?”

I feel smothered. Let’s talk about what’s happening that is creating that feeling for me.”

Try to stay away from “you should,” “it’s your fault,” “if only you would,” and so on. Take responsibility for yourself and your feelings only and work with the other person based on your needs, not on how they should change.

3. Thinking “I can control this” when the ‘this’ is uncontrollable.

Whenever someone admits to me that they are controlling or a control freak, I’m always quick to point out there are a lot of good things about control: you tend to get a lot done, many controlling people have good leadership qualities, a lot of problem-solving occurs, and life tends to be less chaotic.

The problem, of course, is when we try to control things that are not possible to control. Like how your in-laws behave or getting laid off at your job due to the economy or losing a loved one to death.

Trying to control the uncontrollable is like trying to hold on tightly to Jell-o. Everything slips through your fingers and you’re left with a mess and muscles that are tied in knots.

In order to assess how much you try to control, it’s important to be as honest with yourself as possible. Although you might tell yourself you’re just being “thorough” or “proactive” or “efficient,” are you secretly trying to control everything including the uncontrollable?

4. Believing that analyzing will solve every problem.

Much like above, there are many good things about having an analytical nature.

However, there’s a downside, too. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “the paralysis of analysis.” Sometimes analysis only serves to keep us in our heads and out of taking action.

I talk with many of my clients who really want to find out where their problem came from and why. But all this is really doing is keeping them from accepting what is happening in the current moment and taking action when necessary. Instead, they are deep in their heads and memories, trying to come up with the one thing that will give them an “aha!” moment and make them feel better.

Just like in the movies. 😉

If you’re an analyzer, take care to assess whether it is truly helping you solve a problem or merely serving to keep you paralyzed and living in your head rather in the real world.

5. Thinking “When _____ happens, I’ll feel better.”

When I get that raise.

When my wife stops having affairs on me.

When I get the new iPhone.

When I can afford new clothes for my kids.

All of these things actually might help you feel better. For awhile.

But my question is: Why not try to feel better now even when you’re still struggling with problems? Why wait?

I would love for you to read my invitation to lead a rich, meaningful live without having to wait for ____ to happen.

Are you in?


 For more great information on how to bounce back in life, please download my FREE e-bookBounce Back! 5 keys to survive and thrive through life’s ups and downs.



Need to Bounce Back? Get Rid of These 5 Things

Bobbi Emel, MFT

Psychotherapist Bobbi Emel specializes in helping people face life’s significant challenges and regain their resiliency. In addition to seeing clients in her private practice, Bobbi is a well-regarded speaker and writer. Check out her other writing at The Bounce Blog.

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APA Reference
Emel, B. (2013). Need to Bounce Back? Get Rid of These 5 Things. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2018, from


Last updated: 26 Mar 2013
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Mar 2013
Published on All rights reserved.