How to Bounce Back from Life’s Challenges

We all go through rough patches in our lives. The ability to bounce back from these challenges and even come through the other side stronger is what experts call resilience.

You can increase your resilience to help manage tough times in your life. Start with the three P’s:

  • Purpose
  • Possibilities
  • People

New research has revealed that these three things — also known as personal determinants of health — can help us overcome setbacks, disappointments and hardships. In other words, they help us build resilience.

Here are some ways to put the three P’s into practice.

Finding purpose

Set a new direction. Reflect on what is important to you, figure out how to approach it and set achievable goals.

Make it meaningful. What’s meaningful to you? It might be your community, your work or your personal connections. You might help your community or a cause you care about by volunteering. If your work gives you a sense of purpose, you might concentrate on a project or hobby you want to excel at. If personal relationships help give your life meaning, take steps to make them stronger. Set aside time to visit with friends, or share stories from your life with your loved ones.


Focus on the good in your life. Even in hard times, try to stay as positive as you can. Practicing gratitude may help. Reflect on the upsides in your life — even small things, like a glorious sunrise or a delicious meal. Making and adding to a gratitude jar can help.

Face forward. Make a list of things to look forward to. Then come up with a plan to make them happen.

Try to accept what you can’t change. Become aware of things you can’t control and remind yourself that there is nothing you can do about them. Instead, focus on the things you can change, as it may give you a greater sense of control.


Connect with others. Spend time with people who make you feel loved and supported. Try connecting with others through phone calls or text messages if you can’t be with them.

Branch out. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, sign up for a class, or introduce yourself to someone new in your neighborhood.

Carve out time for yourself. Spend at least a few minutes every day doing things that bring you joy and peace. Maybe that’s working on a hobby, taking a walk in nature or having a relaxing bath. Do your best to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. The key is to prioritize things that bolster your spirits.

Sources: HelpGuide; Journal of Behavioral Health; National Institute of Mental Health