Turning a Stressful Event into Personal Growth - Carole Spiers Group

Turning a Stressful Event into Personal Growth

Right now, we find ourselves in uncertain and difficult times. The coronavirus is responsible for much stress, anxiety and confusion across the globe alongside fear, loneliness and grief.

Although this was always going to be an incredibly challenging time for all of us, there is also an opportunity here to take something positive out of such stressful circumstances.

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Far too often we get stuck following the same routines and get on with our lives as we always have done. Although, this moment is one of huge challenges and undesirable consequences, it can also force us into change. This could be the time to build a happier and, more resilient life. We are now at a pivotal moment in our lives where many people will be considering their past actions and how they want to continue forwards post-pandemic and there is an opportunity here to use the coronavirus outbreak to your advantage- to pause and reflect and thus, create a much more meaningful life for the future..

Tell Me More…

Scientists are labelling this change as post-traumatic growth. It is defined as a positive psychological and emotional change experienced as a result of adversity or other challenges that raises an individual’s quality of life.

A large number of studies since the 1990s have shown that a traumatic event can induce people to significantly restructure or redefine how they perceive the world, themselves and others, leading to a greater sense of wellbeing and fulfilment afterwards.

Post-traumatic growth tends to occur in five areas…

1.     A greater appreciation of life. Coming out of such challenging or traumatic times can lead people to find a fresh sense of value and enjoyment in their life.

2.     Relationships can benefit as empathy, compassion and intimacy increases. People tend to prioritise time and communication and develop a greater understanding of others.

3.     In finding greater meaning and joy in one’s life, new opportunities can be identified which otherwise may have been ruled out or not even considered.

4.     Resilience is acquired or increased. Individuals can acquire the ability to cope with future challenges in life as a result of improved personal strength and confidence.

5.     Many people may gain a sense of clarity after dealing with traumatic or difficult events, finding a new sense of purpose or meaning to life alongside deeper connections with people, the world, or religion.  

How Does This Happen?

It is thought that traumatic events interfere with our beliefs about the world and the way we want to live our lives. With high-stress situations, these beliefs or ideals can be undermined, creating an opportunity to reconstruct or redefine priorities and behaviours that bring greater meaning and joy to life.

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The initial disruption to our beliefs leads to intense short-term stress, however the long-term consequences involve the possibility of personal growth and positive life changes that would not take place without the challenging or traumatic events.

Think about it… in our day-to-day lives, many of us don’t get chance to ask ourselves deep, meaningful questions about our purpose in life or our significance to ourselves and others. This level of self-reflection and self-inquiry in the aftermath of trauma or great stress can help us to reacquaint with ourselves and make the necessary changes in our lives to make us happier, better versions of our current selves.

I’ll Leave You With This…

Please know that if you are experiencing unusually high levels of stress or overwhelm during this time, positive transformation and personal growth might follow. Nobody can escape the circumstances that are facing us right now, so it is important not to judge yourself for experiencing these emotions.

If you feel particularly lonely, worried or stress, then give me a call as talking things through, in confidence, with someone outside of your situation can offer a different perspective and a sense of enlightenment and clarity.

I hope you can try and embrace your stress as a temporary, necessary part of a process that has the chance to bring a great deal of meaning, fulfilment and joy to your life as well as equipping you with the ability to deal with difficult situations in the future.

Keep well. Be healthy. Stay safe.

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