Viktor Frankl
t;In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.&

VIKTOR FRANKL

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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.

  • Greater appreciation of life
  • Greater appreciation and strengthening of close relationships
  • Increased compassion and altruism
  • The identification of new possibilities or a purpose in life
  • Greater awareness and utilization of personal strengths
  • Enhanced spiritual development
  • Creative growth

To be sure, most people who experience posttraumatic growth would prefer to side-step the trauma.

Trauma shakes up our world and forces us to take a second look at our goals and dreams. When we realize that we cannot change a situation, we position ourselves for growth and new opportunities.

When the foundational structure of the self is shaken, we are in the best position to pursue new opportunities is our lives.

  • It helps us to be curious about situations and increase the likelihood that we will find new meaning.
  • If we shed our natural defense mechanisms and approach the discomfort head-on, we are able to view everything as fodder for growth.
  • Rumination is a sign you work hard at making sense of the event, and in conjunction with social support and other outlets for expression, it will create new structures of meaning.

Emotions such as sadness, grief, anger, and anxiety are common responses to trauma.

Trying to "self-regulate" those emotions, or avoiding feared thoughts, feeling, and sensations, will make things worse and reinforce the belief that the world is not safe or void of opportunities and meaning. But acceptance and embracing psychological flexibility may enable you to face the world with exploration and openness.

Deliberate rumination leads to an increase in five domains of posttraumatic growth. Two of those domains - positive changes in relationships and increases in perceptions of new possibilities in one’s life—were associated with increased perceptions of creative growth.

Research supports the potential benefit of engaging in art therapy or expressive writing to help in the rebuilding process after trauma.

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RELATED IDEAS

Viktor Frankl
"It doesn’t really matter what we expected from life, but what life expected from us."

6

IDEAS

  1. Resilience comes automatically to most of us.
  2. It is part of a set of skills and behaviours and not a standalone concept.
  3. Resilience is not an individual trait or quality, but dependent on many contextual factors like one’s upbringing, social factors and health conditions.
  4. It is not a static concept but a flowing, dynamic process based on our life cycle and external conditions.
  5. Resilience does not make a person a superhuman being, and the journey of suffering, misery and pain has to be undertaken.
  6. Positivity is one-sided, and running away from negativity does not build resilience.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a mental health disorder that begins after a traumatic event. Events may include:

  • A natural disaster like a tornado
  • Military combat
  • Assault or abuse
  • An accident

PSTD is also known as "shell shock" or "battle fatigue." People with PSTD feel a heightened sense of danger. They are always in the fight-or-flight response mode, causing them to feel stressed or fearful, even in safe situations.

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