After a setback, when we attempt to make changes which may involve challenging our existing lifestyle and belief systems, the mind can get in our way  – specifically the subconscious mind.  The subconscious mind runs our automatic bodily systems in the background.  It’s our survival mechanism with a default negative position to stop any departure from the status quo.  But the subconscious (or non-conscious mind) also has another function that is often described as a search engine for problem solving.  When we develop our conscious relationship with this latter aspect of mind, we are engaged in what is known as our Inner Game.

In earlier discussions, we’ve been examining our Outer Game using our outer conscious mind.  We are most familiar with the sensory features of the conscious mind: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling.  We use those senses to take in the external world and all the opinions and beliefs of those around us.  We then set up conscious thoughts and beliefs of our own based on what we have learned from others.   This is what we use to deal with the outer tasks that need to be done to overcome the circumstances you encounter after a setback.

To completely bounce back from adversity, we coordinate both our Inner and Outer Games.  Inner Work is done by looking at how the mind — our thoughts — get in the way of restoring our lives after a setback, then using tools and techniques to counter the negative results.  In any recovery program, it is essential to include both your inner and outer game.

Let’s look at a few methods you might utilize in your inner game in order to develop your resilience in the face of adversity and make progress in your outer attempts to bounce back.

  • Develop a relationship with your subconscious mind. Use meditation, centered prayer, walks in nature, art and music to connect with your Highest Self.   Then ask for clarity in your purpose and guidance.
  • Start asking and it is given. Start asking what you can do to recover, rebound and rebuild.  Do you have the ability to bounce back from illness, depression or all other manner of adversity?  Have you developed resilience?  Listen to what you are telling yourself.  Negative thinking affects your self-image and inserts doubt and fear into anything you are attempting after a disaster. Catch yourself when you make negative statements and flip your thinking.
  • Look at your belief systems. From birth, all of us adapted the beliefs of others into our own belief system.  These beliefs are often untrue.  They limit us.  What you are telling yourself can throw a monkey wrench in your attempts to rebuild.  It helps to surround yourself with people with whom you feel comfortable talking.  This might be a community group, a coach or counselor or a master mind group.  It’s of value to include people who love you unconditionally and believe in you before you can believe in yourself.
  • Develop tools and techniques like affirmations, Afformations and positive self-talk. Fear, grief and negative emotions like blame, anger, and self-pity are debilitating.   Try Afformations – positive why questions – to replace the thoughts that are self-defeating. Power Habits work in a similar way by replacing bad habits with more positive ones.
  • Check out tapping.  There is a school of thought called EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique – that works to eliminate emotionally “stuck” places in the electrical pathways of our brain.  Certain language and situations trigger old messages that are jammed at junctions of the pathways.  It is similar to the sensation of looping that PTSD patients experience to a greater degree.  Practitioners tap away negative feelings and messages and replace them with positive ones.
  • Develop a daily routine where you utilize these tools and techniques. Several daily actions I’ve written about before help prevent depression and fear:  talk with a trusted friend, help others, say thank you and surround yourself in beauty, prayer and meditation.   I journal.  My daily routine includes giving thanks, expressing gratitude, pre-paving what I would like my day to be like and Afforming.  You might substitute tapping or some other technique into a schedule like this.  Play the gratitude and appreciation game every day.  Taking the time to list at least 10 things daily takes you out of yourself in a very positive, loving way.
  • Evaluate what has been working in your life and what has not. After a setback, any bad habits you have can become the obstacle that blocks access to the very best resources you have within you.  Are you overweight?  Do you ever exercise?  Do you have any addictions?  Do you smoke?  You need to keep all resources available to you during the recovery process.  You may need help with this.  There are support groups with expertise in the specific area you identify as being of concern.  Be open to joining others.  They know what you are going through because they have probably been there themselves.
  • Write a new story. Often after a disaster, setback or other adversity, we take the victim’s role.  When we stop dwelling on the negatives, excuses and pain…when we stop telling ourselves or others the negative story, we can start writing a new positive story.  Take advantage of the opportunity to discover a new story.
  • Embrace positive change. It’s not unusual to discover that YOU have changed after a major negative event.  What you value changes.  You may be motivated to accomplish something greater and do something that makes a difference to others.  Go for it.  It is possible to be blessed by disaster.  It is possible to find rainbows over ruins.  You can bounce back from setbacks.
  • Remove any ambivalence in your thinking. The subconscious mind will pursue whatever you feel most deeply.  If you are undecided, it may pursue the opposite of what you really want because your negative feelings are stronger than the positive ones.  Discover and focus on what you want right now and why.  I found it helped to start with what lifted my spirit.  Look for at least one thing you can do today to move closer to your goal – to feel the way you want to feel when you achieve it. You want to feel that way NOW, not in the distant future.   Do something that helps you feel that way right now.  These actions will continue evolving.  Those first steps toward feeling better turn into bigger things.  It’s important to celebrate those steps in a positive direction and revise your plan as you see new things emerging.  Then follow a traditional success process to pursue your goals.

If you keep coordinating your inner and outer game, you will reduce the ways that your mind gets in your way. Be open to working with others to resolve your blocks.  It is your journey, but it does not have to be a lonely one.

You will develop your resilience in the face of adversity and make more rapid progress in your outer attempts to bounce back.   Keep sowing the seeds.  Persistence is everything. The more you keep at it, the sooner you’ll rebound. You can do it.

I believe in you,


About the Author:  Susan Sherayko is a 3 time Emmy nominated executive in charge of production for a daily morning show.  She is also a life, success, power habits and mindset coach and author, “Rainbows Over Ruins” in which she shares her journey after a landslide destroyed her home.  Susan helps people release the obstacles in their lives so they can share their message and mission with the world and live their best lives.  For more information on how to pick up the pieces after a setback, check out Your Survivor’s Guide: 12 Tips to Gain Inner Peace available FREE at

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