Hitting rock bottom is an opportunity to build a stronger foundation. It doesn’t signify weakness; even if it can feel like the weakest moment of one’s life. If you’re reading this article, then you already have hope that there is a way out. And having hope is essential.
So with tools that are mostly backed by research and science, this article will help you find the strength after you, or someone you know, has hit rock bottom.
First comes acknowledgement and then comes change
Many successful people have hit rock bottom at some point in their lives. Adversity and extremely painful situations are known to often trigger a major change.
To make this change positive, you have to first acknowledge and accept the situation, and understand how you got here. No matter if you’ve lost it all or hit rock bottom in a particular area of your life, you’ve left clues behind you. These clues are the choices and actions you have taken to get to this point. It’s the lessons that will help you in the future.
Your first reaction might be to blame yourself and/or others and while some guilt is beneficial, you want to keep it to a minimum. If you get stuck in blame there is a big chance that you will keep yourself in this situation much longer.
This is why working on forgiveness and solely focusing on your actions from now on is essential. You are in a position to make different choices, one small moment at a time, and this puts you back in control. It’s important to remember that you are not powerless.
Re-focus to find the first ounce of strength
In dark moments like these, it is normal to fall into dark thought patterns. The good news is that you have the power to change one thought at a time. Re-directing your mental energy is the second step to start walking toward a better future. And a crucial one.
Because your brain has a so-called “negativity bias”, it is looking for the bad more than the good. This part of the brain has been with us for thousands of years to protect us from danger and serves the purpose of keeping you safe in potentially dangerous situations. You can’t delete this bias and nor should you. However, when you find yourself hitting rock bottom, you also don’t want it to hinder you from moving forward.
Your brain can keep you in the loop of obsessing over the negative events that got you here and everything that’s wrong right now. It’s still on high alert until you find a way to bring it into a calmer state. By staying in this cycle, you also keep stressing your body, keeping yourself in survival mode. The cortisol that gets released as a result stops you from creating because its job is to help you survive.
This is why you need to shift your attention and help your brain out a bit.
You can begin re-focusing by walking and moving your body, which will help you get into a more tranquil state. It’s highly recommended that you start a gratitude journal so that you can begin to see some good among the bad. You might be surprised just how quickly you can find something good to focus on. Give your emotions time to catch up with your gratitude thoughts.
When you have shifted your focus, and therefore put your mind and body in a different state, you can begin to create a plan. More relaxation and stillness mean more creation.
Get into creation mode to plan and execute
Some people find it easier to get motivated and change a situation around when hitting rock bottom. Others go the opposite direction and have an easier time falling into depression. You don’t want to go forward so quickly that you crash due to the amount of stress, but you also don’t want to become so low that you can’t get out of bed.
If you find yourself depressed, don’t judge yourself for it. Experiencing a challenge like this is nothing to be ashamed of. If depressed, the mentioned steps also help. You can always reach out to a professional, your community, family or friends.
So going back to the negativity bias, your brain is more prone to move away from pain than it is moving towards pleasure. You can use this to your advantage. If it’s difficult to find the strength within you, look for a reason to get yourself out of this situation. Oftentimes we need something outside of ourselves to climb up from the bottom.
What kind of pain awaits if you don’t get up and move forward? Who will get hurt in the process and who do you need to do this for, except for yourself?
In other words, use the pain to your advantage.
Energize your body
When you’ve been through a lot of stress and your energy is drained, it’s difficult to get anything done. Depending on your situation and your resources, choose an activity that will help you get your energy levels up. Movement is essential to your well-being so that you can think more clearly and have the energy to take action. It helps you release stress and stuck energy in the body, as well as gives you attention a boost.
You can use tools such as meditation, breathwork and food for energy. If you can work with a nutritionist and get into an exercise routine with strength training, this is highly beneficial. Food is extremely important for your health and your mood. Practices such as martial arts, qi gong, yoga, or running, are other great options.
Healing your body through trauma work and release is also a beneficial tool in this situation. If your rock bottom is an addiction of any kind, trauma work helps you work through this. This is because trauma is stuck in the body which is the root cause of most addictions.
To avoid overwhelm, implement one thing at a time. Begin with one practice that is most accessible, and most appropriate, to your situation.
Get support where you can
Most likely, you have at least one person who can support you. What you want is someone who will help you find solutions and paint a new picture in your mind of a different future. This might be your best friend, your mom, a coach, or a professional healer and/or therapist.
Although you need someone to listen and help you validate your emotions, you also need someone who can help you shift your perspective. It’s common to get stuck in the victim space when we hit rock bottom. It’s not that your situation isn’t painful but staying feeling like a victim for too long won’t help you make any changes. No matter how unfair the situation may seem, you want to take back control.
When you’re getting support, you want to therefore avoid others joining you in the victim-feeling space. This is the reason why you sometimes need an outsider to come in and help.
Faith can be a great friend
Faith is one of the most powerful things when it comes to finding strength in extremely challenging situations. You can embrace faith by simply believing that there is a better future waiting for you. You can embrace it through prayer, like the “serenity prayer”, or by reading books that are easily digested.
You can also implement faith by believing in yourself. Faith is believing that you are not alone in this and that there is support. Faith is also reaching out to God or the Universe or asking for help from your loved ones or a professional. Doing a future-self exercise can also help you increase faith. This type of exercise is where you go into the future in your mind until your emotions catch on. You write down either how you want your future to look, or go back as if the future is already happening and trace your steps towards it in detail.
Remember the last time you were strong
Remember the last time you got yourself out of a difficult situation. Focus on what you have overcome and ask yourself how you’ve overcome it. You have more strength within you than you realize. Hitting rock bottom can be the very thing that changes your life forever.