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Do we actually grow from adversity?

https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/adversity

bigthink.com

Do we actually grow from adversity?
We tend to think that what doesn't kill us 'makes us stronger'. But is there any truth to this? Or does adveristy just traumatize us? Stories of growth stemming from trauma are certainly powerful. They can serve as inspiration and motivation. But, they may be the exception, not the rule.

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The silver lining of tragedies

The silver lining of tragedies

In our culture, there's this idea that going through a disaster can be good for you and make you stronger.

After experiencing loss or trauma, people usually report feeling a greater appreciation for life, closer relationships; they feel stronger, more spiritual and more inspired.

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Post-traumatic growth

The narrative of growth from adversity might sound convincing, but it's difficult to collect reliable data on people before and after they've experienced trauma.

Studies found that people are not very good at accurately remembering what they were like before a traumatic event. When they think they have experienced growth, it might just be a coping mechanism. Those who reported personal growth after a tragedy were more likely to continue to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

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People can grow from adversity

It can be problematic to embrace the idea that personal growth and resilience are typical outcomes of adversity.

Not everyone is stronger after a traumatic event. However, the support of family, friends, and communities in the wake of a traumatic event, plays a significant role in growing from it.

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Viktor Frankl

"In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning."

Viktor Frankl

Moving forward

At this time in history, many people are wondering whether we will have a life again. Will we recover with dignity?

Science suggests that we will do more than recover: we will show immense capacity for resiliency and growth.

From Resilience to Growth

Resilience is the ability to maintain a relatively stable and healthy level of psychological and physical functioning during and after a very traumatic event.

Studies reveal that resilience is actually common and can be attained through multiple unexpected routes. Studies further show that the majority of trauma survivors do not develop PTSD, and most report unexpected growth from their experience.

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Understanding Stress

  • Dealing with Stress is imperative as it is unavoidable in modern life.
  • Our work, family and our finances create daily stress and other external factors (like politics and terrorism) co...

Your Perception About Stress

With stress, the mind and the body are intrinsically linked. You can view stress as something that is wreaking havoc on your body (and it can) or as something that is giving you the strength and energy to overcome adversity.

Exposure to Stress

Regular exposure to stress in small quantities can prepare us to handle a big stressful event in our lives. Prepare yourself for stress by self-education about the stressful event, by doing some physically stressful activities like completing a marathon, or something you dread, like giving a speech.

Repeated exposure to mildly stressful conditions can alter your body’s biological response to stress, making you manage stress in a better way.

We Can’t Bounce Back From Everything

We Can’t Bounce Back From Everything

Resilience is becoming a buzzword, a mainstay of many books telling us to recover and grow from difficulties. This substitute word for mental toughness may not be enough to adjust or recou...

Life Cannot Be The Same After A Crisis

Bouncing back from a profound loss or suffering may be impossible for many, as the crisis has created a black hole in their universe, which they have now entered. It is not the time to look back, as the past self is suddenly useless and irrelevant.

Bouncing back does not take into account the dynamic mind shift that has happened to the individual.

The Alternative To Resilience

An alternative to resilience is a mysterious, unknown potential towards a future that yet unseen, but can be imagined.

Hardships can be dealt with imagination, curiosity, openness and adaptability towards the expansive potential of a new future.