We all fail at something in our lives, and if we are positive about it, we let it become a learning experience. Hitting rock bottom is different – when you encounter complete and utter failure in all areas of your life, it is very hard to see anything positive about it at all. This condition is often accompanied by severe depression, which will really challenge you.
However, being at your lowest possible level can be a positive experience, in a way. It is an excellent opportunity to reinvent your life from scratch. When things cannot get any worse, it means that whatever you decide to do is going to be an improvement, the only way is UP! even if ever so slightly.
But, what exactly should you do to pick yourself up and begin taking control of your life again?
Rising from the Depths: What to Do When You Hit Rock Bottom
1. Start small and focus on one thing at a time
So, you are down at the deep end and have no idea how to get out or where to start. Some life coaches would suggest that you try to turn things around immediately, deciding to put every effort into changing your life this very minute and show the world a miraculous comeback. Don’t fall into this trap – in fact, it is about the worst thing you can do in this situation.
While it is possible to muster enough energy and determination to maintain this tempo for a little while, very few people are capable of changing their life in one fell swoop. By the way, this is the reason why most people fail at their New Year resolutions. Trying to change everything may sound like an alluring and motivating goal, but you will most likely run out of steam after a few days, your own inability to adhere to your new regimen will cause you to abandon it in its entirety, and this will plunge you deeper into depression.
Instead, focus on making small steps towards a single goal. When you hit rock bottom, improvement in any area of your life is welcome, and small successes will help you get used to achieving something, conditioning you for further progress.
2. Set achievable goals
Another tactic often recommended is visualizing your ideal life after you’ve achieved total success. Allegedly visualizing your success motivates you to move forward and apply effort towards achieving it. While it may work in some cases, it certainly isn’t so when you hit rock bottom. Imagining driving a Lamborghini, wearing a Rolex Cellini timepiece and owning a private island will be too jarring if your life is too far removed from this image. It won’t motivate you to try harder – on the contrary, subconsciously it will be a constant reminder that any effort on your part is doomed.
3. Reach out to other people
People going through a rough patch in their lives tend to either close in on themselves and avoid other people or drag them down with themselves, causing other people to avoid them. Both approaches are equally harmful. If you experience severe problems in your life, some help from outside may be exactly what you need. Sometimes it is not even direct help but inspiration and motivation you get from getting in touch with people who take an active part in life. Just make sure that your motivation for reaching out is to accept help and support and not to make others as miserable as you are now.
4. Find your motivation
It is often said that if you cannot achieve something, it means that you don’t have a strong enough “Why” – a reason for doing it, or “Ikigai,” as the Japanese call it (which is literally translated as “The reason to get up in the morning”).
What is your ultimate reason for being?
Why should you force yourself to try harder? Any effort you apply towards getting on your feet is likely to lose its momentum sooner or later if you don’t decide it for yourself.
Nobody wants to hit rock bottom. However, if you perceive it as an opportunity to hit reset and start things anew, it can be the beginning of a new, much more powerful period of your life.
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