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How to Recover from a Setback and Emotionally Bounce Back

A few hours ago, I was curled up crying on the couch.

That’s not easy to say, but it’s true.

I started the day in a good mood, but when I sat down to work, I opened my email to some really bad news.

Devastating , heart-wrenching, soul-crushing news…

I’d just found out I failed at something truly important to me.

Here’s what happened…

How To Bounce Back from a Setback

Step 1: Acknowledge The Negative Thoughts

When I opened that email, my mind went really negative, really quickly.

“I’m such a failure.”

“I can’t do anything right “

“Maybe the universe is trying to tell me to quit.”

I mean: Wow…right?

All of that from just seeing one bad email.

And because my mind started telling me those stories, I started to spiral.

That’s how I wound up crying on the couch.

I’m not proud of that.

But I am proud of what I did next.

Step 2: Accept Where You Are

I got up and took a shower.


Then –> I took the dog out.

(Genius, I know.)


My mind kept attacking me.

I thought about gorging myself on scones and croissants…but I didn’t even have the energy to go to the store.

I considered baking them myself, but again –> I didn’t have the energy.

Plus, I thought:

“If I do that, I’ll just feel worse later.”

It didn’t really feel like it –> but I was making progress.

I was starting to reset my goals for the day:

Anything other than “overeating on the couch” became a new win.

So I came home.

I listened to some Abraham Hicks.

Then I went for a run.

On my run, I started to think about the different stories I could tell myself about that email.

I reasoned that if I could just come up with a few options, I probably wouldn’t settle on the worst-case.

(This is a good sign –> Now I’m starting to think deliberately about my thoughts.)

I came up with thoughts like:

  • “I’m a total failure.”
  • “Maybe there was something I misunderstood.”
  • “I probably could have tried harder.”
  • “This doesn’t really mean anything.”
  • “Maybe this is the kick in the butt I needed.”

By the time I got home, I was feeling good again.

Not just “good.”

I felt excited…motivated.

Yes, it took me an hour to recover from reading that email, but the point is:

I knew how to recover.

There’s a very real, past-version of myself that would’ve lost the entire day.

But take a second to think about what I did.

Step 3: Build Resilience With Simple Strategies

  • I distracted myself.
  • I reset my expectations.
  • I imagined new stories I could use.
  • I shifted very, very gradually.
  • I tried not to beat myself up along the way.

These are all strategies we teach here at The Joy Within.

I know they work, because I use them myself.

Ultimately, I was able to move from feeling depressed, worthless, and unable to go on, to feeling motivated, excited, and (yes) even happy.


  • Because I knew the right tools and strategies.
  • Because I had a framework to use them.
  • Because I have practiced changing my mood, over and over again.

That’s the power of The Joy Within.

It’s not about pretending you never have a bad day.

It’s about knowing how to recover when those bad days hit.

Without this system, I’d probably still be crying on the couch…or moping around feeling sorry for myself.

Instead, I’m actually having a pretty good day.

Can you say the same?

  • How do you respond when something knocks you down?
  • How many tools do you have in your back pocket, ready to use on command?

Today was tough –> I’m not gonna lie.

But I made the shift.

And if I can do it, you can too.

That’s why The Joy Within is here.

If you’re struggling with bad news or trying to recover from a recent setback:

Click here to learn more about how The Joy Within can help.

Kyle Greenfield

Kyle Greenfield is the Founder and CEO of The Joy Within, where our mission is to help you win the fight against stress and negativity by harnessing the power of your natural, inner joy. Kyle has been teaching on meditation, mindfulness, and how to eliminate negative thoughts since 2016. He currently resides in London. You can follow Kyle on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

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