DIG Insurance & Business Magazine Fall 2020 - Page 23

GROWTH AFTER CRISIS
And like any journey , there are ups and downs .
Common initial reactions to cancer , death , job loss , divorce , or similar seismic events include profound sadness , yearning for the deceased , longing for a life denied , loss of self identity , guilt , anger , irritability and distraction . In a minority of cases , significant trauma and life crisis can trigger serious mental instability . Spiritual and emotional growth isn ’ t a de facto result of crisis , of course . It ’ s the result of intentional choices about how we respond to traumatic events . The way we frame the next sequence of choices and personal narrative matters a great deal in how we can emerge from trauma stronger and more resilient .
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR POINT OF DEPARTURE .
We all have our own starting point prior to a traumatic event , our own personal status quo . When a crisis strikes , it disrupts our personal narrative , it challenges our belief system about what is normal , what is fair , what is real and consistent in our world . When crisis strikes , it creates its own emotional distress , curtails our goals , and interrupts our normal trajectory . It ’ s important to acknowledge that you won ’ t go on your vacation to Belize , or see your son ’ s graduation ceremony from high school . Mourn that loss , but don ’ t dwell on it .
EXAMINE YOUR SELF-TALK .
In Tedeschi and Calhoun ’ s model , our next immediate phase is rumination . We muse internally about the event , and the way in which we talk to ourselves matters a great deal . Do we curse the gods , and tell ourselves we deserve it ? Or do we chalk it up to random misfortune , and uncaring powers beyond our control ? Often we internalize events in the form of keeping a journal , praying , or meditating .
IT ’ S IMPORTANT TO AVOID BLAME . BLAME SIMPLY EXACERBATES FEELINGS OF BEING A VICTIM .
BE AWARE OF HOW YOU SHARE YOUR STORY TO OTHERS .
Once we have built our own personal narrative of the event , we try these stories out on others . We test these narratives with our partners , our friends , and family . We lean on our sociocultural muses . We revisit our trusted voices in the news , in social media , to reinforce our emerging storyline . The language you use with others is contagious . If you focus on complaints and what you have lost , you will reinforce the same feelings in others . Focus on the positive .
In these early phases of rumination , selftalk , and then sharing these developing narratives with others , it ’ s critically important to use words that emphasize self-compassion (“ it ’ s not my fault ”), it ’ s temporal (“ this isn ’ t going to last forever ”), and to emphasize what you can do to contribute to the emotional stability of those around you (“ I think I ’ ll help John with his homework tonight .”)
BUILD MEANING AND PURPOSE THROUGH GIVING .
In study after study , helping others and contributing to your community goes much farther in building purpose and meaning than merely pursuing happiness . Even the simple act of expressing gratitude to someone is an act of giving , because you are celebrating someone else and lifting them up .
If you ’ re interested in tracking your own posttraumatic growth progress through this strange dystopian moment in time , Tedeschi and Calhoun have created a simple scorecard to help us examine our growth .
Our company Mindscaling is giving away this course we created on Raising Resiliency with Jen Shirkani . We hope you are safe , healthy and sane in this strange time . We hope this will help . +
Shawn Hunter is Founder & President of MindScaling and is also an entrepreneur , author and idea developer . Shawn has collaborated with hundreds of business authors , executives , and researchers to create learning solutions . Shawn ’ s first company , Targeted Learning , was acquired by Skillsoft in February 2007 . He is the author of Out • Think and Small Acts of Leadership .
MindScaling . com & ShawnHunter . com
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