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VideoHandling Setbacks

Handling Setbacks

There will always be obstacles as we work toward our goals — the key is to find ways to keep moving forward.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace. Unrivaled expertise to make life feel a little easier, using guided meditations, mindfulness tips, focus tools, sleep support, and dedicated programs.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

After we set sail on a helpful new habit or tool, it's tempting to put our feet up, so to speak, lean back with our hands behind our head and declare, "It will be smooth sailing from here on out." But that's not how the ocean works. There's always another wave or obstacle to navigate. Our goal isn't to figure out how to avoid the waves, rather, how to work with them. When something disrupts your new habit or tool, it can feel like a setback, sending your thoughts into a spiral, which can result in uncomfortable emotions like frustration or disappointment. Those uncomfortable emotions that we experience are really common, but those emotions that come up when we face a setback can outright make us want to give up. Setbacks might feel uncomfortable at first, but they give us an opportunity to learn about ourselves and how we approach achieving our goals. From there, we can figure out the best ways to keep moving forward. It's helpful to think of a setback like a slingshot. Sometimes we're pulled backwards so that we can be propelled forward. Goals work the same way. As you work towards something, little victories and setbacks work together to get you where you want to be. (gentle music) So let's walk through ways to keep you moving forward in those moments when you experience a setback. You can begin by offering yourself self-compassion. This may look like acknowledging and validating what you're feeling. If this is new to you, it might feel a little different at first, but give it a try. When you experience an uncomfortable emotion, you might say to yourself, "In this moment, this is hard and this emotion is uncomfortable." Next, try reminding yourself that discomfort won't last forever. It's temporary, and it's a part of the process of moving forward. Then take three deep breaths to help bring you into the present moment. Let's try taking one now. Inhaling in through the nose, hold, and exhaling out through the mouth. (gentle music) Try repeating the words, "I can handle this," or, "I'm learning to handle this," because you can and we're developing ways to work with these emotions. Even if it doesn't feel like it right now, keep repeating it and reminding yourself as often as you need to. When you catch yourself putting off a task or avoiding it, take a moment to imagine how you'll feel once it's all said and done, and the relief it will bring. And finally, once you're feeling better, you can reflect and ask, "Is there anything you might be able to learn from what happened or from how you handled it?" Again, there's always gonna be another wave or obstacle to navigate. You can't avoid them, but with these tools of compassion, curiosity, and determination, you can steer towards your destination with more ease and confidence. (waves whooshing)...


Duration3 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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