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Do we actually grow from adversity?

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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Do we actually grow from adversity?

Do we actually grow from adversity?

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

bigthink.com

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Key Ideas

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.

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.

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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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.

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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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True happiness

It isn’t about being happy all the time. Striving for a happy life is one thing, but striving to be happy all the time is unrealistic.

Psychological flexibility

Being open to emotional experiences and the ability to tolerate periods of discomfort can allow us to move towards a richer, more meaningful existence. The way we respond to the circumstances of our lives has more influence on our happiness than the events themselves.

The 2 philosophical paths to happiness

  • Hedonistic: in order to live a happy life we must maximize pleasure and avoid pain. This view is often short-lived.
  • Eudaimonic approach: takes the long view and argues that we should live authentically and for the greater good. We should pursue meaning and potential through kindness, justice, honesty, and courage.

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