Building Your Bounce-Back Muscle: Practices to Strengthen Your Resiliency

Published April 13, 2021

Our capacity for bounce-back—the ability to recover quickly, stay positive and see new opportunities in the midst of setbacks—has been challenged of late. Perhaps you’ve noticed.

We’re living and leading in liminal space—the time between what was and what’s next. For many, this long season has drained our reserves and reduced our resiliency. We all feel it.

We’re faced with new challenges and new problems to solve that require us to find new ways to live and lead through disruption. For many of us, long seasons in this in-between space can drain our reserves and reduce our resiliency.

How do we get our bounce-back back?

Here’s the good news. Your resiliency is a muscle that can be built with practice. And your past, present and future hold the keys for strength building.

Your resiliency is a muscle that can be built with practice.

Resilience in your past

Your muscle for bounce-back is built through your history. What story does your life tell you? These practices help you view failures and setbacks as part of life to be accepted and redeemed as opportunities for growth, healing and self-compassion.


Where in your story have you seen good come from bad? Hindsight helps us here—the practice of remembering. Calling to mind the times pain or pressure have produced something positive can help you frame the present more hopefully.

At Roots&Branches we have the honor of sitting with people, hearing their stories and praying in places of deep pain. For many, the pain of their past has told them stories about their lives that leave them stuck in shame and disappointment. As we listen and pray, they begin to see how God has been present with them to redeem and restore. Their past is reframed, and they’re able to move forward in freedom and gratitude.

Practicing gratitude

The practice of gratitude flows from remembering. Dr. Brene Brown, writing about resiliency and rising strong, says this:

“Joy, collected over time, fuels resilience—ensuring we’ll have reservoirs of emotional strength when hard things do happen.”

The practice of gratitude fuels joy and helps fill a reservoir you can draw from in the present.


Resilience in your present

What can you control when life feels out of control? These practices in the present give you a sense of agency—a resilient way to take charge of how you’re experiencing adversity.

Accepting emotions

Self-awareness and non-judgmental curiosity about how you’re thinking and behaving can help you be more present to your emotions. Asking questions like these can help: What am I feeling? What’s driving my emotions? How am I responding?

Establishing rhythm

Times of stress and change take a toll on your mind, body and spirit. Establishing a rhythm of work and recovery is critical. You can exercise control by choosing to make space for self-care through movement, sleep, healthy diet, play, relationships, mental health resources, meditation and prayer.


Resilience in your future

Resilient leaders have a strong sense of purpose and vision. They anticipate growth and find meaning and opportunity in turbulent times. These practices can help you harness a positive future.

Embracing creativity

Liminality is space for transformation if we will let it form us. The necessity for new solutions creates fertile ground for creativity and experimentation. What new things might be emerging from the chaos?

Finding meaning

How might current adversity connect with your larger life purpose? Resilience reads the future through the lens of positivity, expecting to find meaning and trusting that all things work together for good.

“Joy, collected over time, fuels resilience—ensuring we’ll have reservoirs of emotional strength when hard things do happen.”


Let’s harness the power of your past, present and future to build muscle right now with an examen for resiliency. The spiritual practice of examen takes many forms and can be used for any period of time. For today, let’s look at the larger story of your life.

  1. Stop for just a moment and get quiet. Close the door. Turn off the media. Set your phone aside. Take a few deep breaths.
  2. Listen within as you prayerfully review your past. Where have you seen good come from bad? Take a few moments to practice gratitude.
  3. Now move to the present. What are you feeling? How are you responding? How might you care for yourself in this time? Take a few moments to simply breathe and rest.
  4. Continue to listen prayerfully as you consider the future. Where do you see new opportunities emerging? What meaning can you find in the midst of uncertainty? Take a few moments to imagine a future with possibility.
  5. Do you sense an invitation to respond in some way? Consider what one change or shift you can make today to build your resiliency.

One practice at a time, you’re building your bounce-back back.

About the Author
This is the author headshot for Susan Carson.

Susan Carson

Founder and Director

Roots&Branches Network

Susan Carson is an author, speaker, podcaster and pray-er. She is founder and director of Roots&Branches Network, a citywide listening and healing prayer ministry in Cincinnati, Ohio. Susan’s new book, Rooted (IN): Thriving in Connection with God, Yourself, and Others, and her podcast, rooted (IN).ten.tionally , offers spiritual paths and practices for living more deeply rooted in love with God and your true self.