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Post Traumatic Growth

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

This pandemic, something that we never, as a society expected to happen in our lifetime, has traumatized all of us.

The young, and the old, the stay at home mom, and the grocery clerk. We’ve all been thrown into fire and are gasping for air. Just last week, my son spilled half of the gallon of milk that I had just bought, and the first thought that went through my head was, “Oh, no. Do I have to go back to the supermarket again this week?”

How far we’ve come…and how much we had taken for granted.

What is next, everyone keeps asking. Where do we go from here? How long can this go on for….

As a country we have become traumatized…

And like all trauma patients, we, as a whole, will need a whole lot of support, mentally, financially and otherwise, to pull through this mess.

When I first learned about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder back in my Psych 101 class in college, I imagined that someone with a lot of resilience and strength could overcome the traumas of life. Someone with the will and power to reach deep within and gather whatever strength they had within them to rise from the adversities of life.

Recently I listened to great talk from one of my favorite thinkers, Dr. Tal Ben Shahar. He is, whom you could call, an expert on happiness. And he opened my mind to a concept so simple, yet so grand, that I simply had to share.

What if after all of this, we are not traumatized, but come out greater, stronger than we were before.

Instead of post-traumatic stress disorder, we look to post traumatic growth.

That we not only recover from the terrible effects of this pandemic to reach an equilibrium, but rather grow and draw strength to reach even greater heights than we have

How does one reach such heights?

Research after research shows that creating a routine for your self and family is the number one step towards staying emotionally healthy.

Dr. Ben Shahar had these suggestions:

-Feel the emotions and accept them. Let them go through you, because denying and blocking them creates further feelings of anxiety, depression and failure within you.

-Journaling and writing down your thoughts are extremely helpful—this is why you are all previewed to my long, late night messages. Its my way of organizing my thoughts and feelings and dealing with what’s going on in the world

-Call a friend and talk to a loved one

-Allow yourself to feel the range of emotions…the negative as well as the positives. It’s okay to be sad or scared, but its also okay to be happy, laugh and have gratitude for the blessing sin your life.

-Direct yourself away from constant contact with the news and social media…The continuous messages about what will be, what might be, and what has been, has a terribly negative effect on one’s psyche. Perhaps dedicated two or three times per day that you catch up on the news or check in on your social media and walk away from it the rest of the day...

-Exercise and get fresh air

And lastly….

Learn to do something new. The following are the things that people have told me they are learning to do, now that they have all this uninterrupted time: knit, sew, make bread, learn to make Persian food, paint, write, and lots and lots of time to read…

Give yourself the permission to be human…

And you might see that that your resilience will take you to higher points than you had ever thought possible.

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