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3 Things to Ask Yourself When You’re Just Not Bouncing Back

Do you ever wonder why you’re not bouncing back from things as fast as you usually do?questioning

Maybe you’re facing a big stressor or perhaps it’s something so small that it usually wouldn’t bother you, but in either case, somehow you just aren’t as resilient as you have been in the past.

The tendency is to think, “I must be a real wimp; I usually am fine with this type of stress.”

You might be a wimp (although I seriously doubt it) or there might be something else going on.

We humans have a penchant for glossing over the most obvious things, so here’s a reminder to ask yourself about these three commonly overlooked factors that make it difficult to bounce back:

1. Am I tired?

Being tired saps us of any reserves we might have in the resiliency arena so it makes sense that bouncing back wouldn’t come as easily.

If being tired is due to lack of sleep, our ability to problem-solve and manage even the smallest issues may be severely challenged. We need our REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep – the deepest stage of sleep – in order to be able to process memories and emotions most efficiently.

If lack of sleep is a problem for you, check out this helpful article from the American Psychological Association.

Tired from physical exertion? Make sure to get enough rest to get your wits about you again before making any decisions or trying to accurately gauge your ability to bounce back.

2. Am I sick?

Obviously, being seriously ill is going to make it difficult for you to have any energy at all to manage your emotions.

But did you know that even something as simple as the common cold can affect your bounce-back-ability?

Think about it: not only are you tired (see #1 above) from being sick, every bit of extra energy in your body – and most of the regular-strength energy – is going toward fighting off the invasive critters that are making you sick.

That doesn’t leave a lot left over for emotional resilience.

Take care of your body to help restore your energy and bounciness.

3. Am I under more stress than I realize?

This is a common factor I see in my clients. They rattle off a number of very stressful things going on in their lives and I make the observation, “Wow, that’s a lot. Do you see how much you have on your plate right now?”

More often than not, they’ll respond, “Really?”


Our under-assessment of our level of stress goes back to this idea that we’re not supposed to be wimps. We “should be able” to handle any amount of everyday stress.

The reality is that when we’re under stress – even the normal, everyday stuff like kids, jobs, and traffic – our minds and bodies go into survival mode. Our mental and emotional resources are directed toward solving problems and keeping our anxieties at bay so we’re not left with much else to work with.

And that’s just managing everyday stress! Add a few more unexpected stressors to the mix and we’re really besieged.

No wonder we’re not bouncing back!

Give Yourself a Break

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these three questions, it’s a good idea to allow yourself some space and realize that it’s just plain hard to be very resilient when any or all of these factors are in play. It’s possible, but it’s harder than when you’re not tired, sick, or stressed.

While it’s frustrating to not bounce back as fast as you’d like, it’s important to acknowledge that there are times in your life when you need to have just a little more energy available to you in order to get back to your normal level of resiliency.

It will come, I promise. Take care of yourself!


Want more ideas on how to bounce back? Download my FREE ebookBounce Back! 5 keys to survive and thrive through life’s ups and downs

3 Things to Ask Yourself When You’re Just Not Bouncing Back

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). 3 Things to Ask Yourself When You’re Just Not Bouncing Back. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2018, from


Last updated: 12 Nov 2013
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Nov 2013
Published on All rights reserved.