Today we are joined by Karen Salmansohn, author of the new book “Bounce Back,” a self-help book to help those of us who have experienced difficult trials to find their way back out into the sunshine.
Karen, thank you for joining me today. What would you say are some of the most common setbacks people face?
I call “setbacks going through “The Vortex.” And it seems everyone has one in their life (at least one)–a time when you are tested in seemingly insurmountable ways and things continue to go wrong, and you find yourself spiraling downward. Some people’s Vortex happen when they’re only 13 and a parent suddenly died. Or 24 and you found out your sister had breast cancer and you got fired, both in the same month. Or 29 and discovering you could not have a child. Or 42 and going through a divorce. Or 51 and happily retiring, only to discover playing golf all day was a formula for depression. My Vortex lasted about a year, during which time so many bad things happened, I kept waiting for a Candid Camera crew to appear from behind the planter in my living room. First, the real estate broker, real estate lawyer, and moving company I hired found sneaky ways to rip me off. Next, a longtime business buddy hired me to package new groovy chocolate bars, then never paid me. But those were nothing compared to the lowest point in my Vortex: a sexual assault—which came out of nowhere–by someone I knew as an acquaintance.
How important is attitude in facing setbacks?
A good attitude is essential! Attitude is destiny. If you can master your thoughts you can master your destiny. But even with this mind — I want to add an important caveat! After a setback, you should not rush back to being “I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine!” too quickly! You might wind up bruising yourself further! The Dalai Lama said, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” In other words, you shouldn’t be impatient about your progress — or impractical either. Trying to feel 100% better 100% of the time is unrealistic and will only lead to further disappointment. I encourage people to come up with an achievable goal for feeling better, and take baby steps toward reaching that goal. It helps if you keep track of your progress in a journal, by putting little + and – signs in it every time you feel positive or negative. Your goal is to eventually see a trend of more + signs! And I’m hoping the 75 psychological techniques which I offer in “The Bounce Back Book” will help create a nice-paced upward trend of positive signs in people’s journals!
Is attitude the only tool we need, or what else should we cultivate within ourselves to overcome our setbacks?
I’d like to remind people that a Vortex can deplete your entire health. In fact, depression is considered by doctors to be a “whole-body disorder”–having deleterious effects on the heart, brain, bones, and metabolism. You have to take care of yourself from the inside out — by eating healthfully and adding in extra mood-boosting vitamins. I particular I recommend SAM-e – which is a naturally occurring molecule produced in your body that is there to help regulate your mood. When you’re stressed or not eating right it gets depleted, which increases moodiness and irritability. Plus you must exercise. I recommend walking yourself out of a bad mood. A well-known research study at Duke University showed that going for a brisk 30-minute walk three times a week is as effective as taking antidepressants to improve your mood. And they found that the group that exercised had more long-lasting benefits than those that took antidepressants.
What other books have you written?
I’ve written a few big best-sellers like “How to Be Happy, Dammit” and its sequels, “Enough Dammit” and “The Seven Lively Sins: How to Enjoy Your Life, Dammit.” Basically, I love writing self-help books for people who normally would not be caught dead reading self-help books. Self-help which has a friendly and humorous voice and is graphically fun to read. Self-help you could give to a friend as a gift – and they’re not gonna slap you!
Thank you for sharing a little bit about your self and your book, Karen. It’s been a privilege to have you here with us today.
If you would like to learn more about Karen and her book, click here.