Developing RESILIENCE – spiritual (Part 3)

PREVIOUS: Resilience – Spiritual #2

SITE: 3 Visualizations

CHART ⬇
To enhance Resilience, Ultimate Meaning can be gathered through activities that meet our soul-needs

SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE (S>R>)
Components

4. STOOL of balance
God’s Timing
– requires both Faith & Patience. God gives each person their own style of spiritual path, so how you travel on it will be different from everyone else. That means that some areas of your growth will seem to improve more easily, while others will take longer, & each of those time frames will be different for everyone else. So there’s no point in comparing!

Knowledge = of Soul & Spirit: we are created as spirit beings with a soul (nefesh), the personality made up of emotions, mind & will, encased in a body. The soul is meant to be ruled by our spirit – our breath of life – & the spirit is to be ruled by THE Spirit (Ruach), the supernatural part of a human that holds the breath of God which powers the entire being.

Compassion – as we connect to Spirit, we experience the knowledge of connection to everyone & everything else

Wisdom = from The Knowledge. That deep understanding then forms a blend of social, emotional & mental processes, transmuting experience into wisdom. It’s an awareness of how things play out over time, providing balance between needs & wants. That gives us the S>R> to tolerate the uncertainties of life, as well as its difficulties

Truth – Wisdom gives us the courage to tell ourselves the truth – about how we feel, what we think, want or don’t want. “You’re only as sick as your secrets” means owning up to the flaws we hide from ourselves. But wisdom also knows who, where & how much of it to tell others

Zeal = goal oriented enthusiasm based on Knowledge – the essence of a robust spiritual life – & the opposite of complacency, but not fanaticism. Because humans cannot feel enthusiastic & guilty at the same time, S>R> depends on continually working to outgrow behaviors that harm ourselves & others (character defects from damage)

Free Will – the philosophical/religious concept of ‘moral liberty’ that says we can freely choose between right & wrong, consciously making decisions not determined by the biology of our brain. However, there are many influences out of our control, (Step 1), which Wisdom teaches us to accept without resistance, leading to S>R> 

5. Compassion
Developing it, both for oneself & for others, is one of the most overlooked aspects of the resilience skill set. While empathy is taking on another person’s perspective, & sharing emotions, compassion is when those feelings & thoughts include the desire to help, but with boundaries (not rescuing)

Research tells us that being compassionate acts produce ‘good’ emotions – internally, & positive relationships (cooperation & collaboration) – externally, which strengthens resilience.
EXP: In CA (2009) David Breaux asked people to write down their concept of Compassion & got back over 9,500 responses. He’s been using that input to provide spiritual healing to hundreds of people as a ‘street therapist’.

6. Post-trauma growth (P-TG)
Spiritual beliefs & practices provide a sense of purpose to one’s life which helps people know they’re not victims of arbitrary events. Belief in a Higher Power who is ‘in charge’ implies that what happens to us is not arbitrary, but this does not eliminate or substitute our right & ability to choose our actions & responses, creating balance. The ultimate in P-TG in Biblical terms would be Jesus Christ’s resurrection

7. Silence
Having Spiritual Resilience implies a connection to Spirit. And having that requires consistently quieting the mind – to hear that ‘still small voice’ – our own & that of H.P. We are made up atoms & molecules held together with pure energy that keeps everything in the Universe moving in the right order. We can tap into that by being quiet – every so often.

The brain & the mind are different – the brain needs the right chemistry & health to function. The mind includes conscious & unconscious awareness – which we have some control over. What works for some is meditating, for others it’s doing visualizations, & for many it’s praying. The important thing is that some form of quiet time needs to be a regular part of our day.  (MORE….)

NEXT: MBTI – ISTP

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Developing RESILIENCE – spiritual (Part 2)

PREVIOUS: Resilience – Spiritual #1

SITE: The Spirituality of Resilience

COMPONENTS of Spiritual Resilience (S>R>)
We need to take care of the sum of our parts first before we can be whole, (PMES). Mind, heart, body & soul are all elements of our core, & not nourishing each one regularly leads to negative thinking & disordered behavior. Without a spiritual life, people are more likely to live in monotony, uncertainty &/or narcissism.

BALANCE is an essential feature of mental health – in this case the balance between faith & free will. Both are true & both are necessary. Faith could be expressed as religious participation. Free will would be actively practicing the Golden Rule: ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’ or Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.

1. Spirituality – Faith, Belief
Human beings’ innate self-righting tendency – the capacity for Resilience – is connected to our basic spiritual nature. Activist Patrisse Cullors said: “People’s resilience, I think, is tied to their will to live, our will to survive, which is deeply spiritual. The fight to save your life is a spiritual fight”. When people include spirituality in how they ‘understand’ a tragedy they’ve suffered (meaning ascribed to events), they come thru it with much less trauma-hangover

As listed in Part #1 the term has several meanings, & people use it differently. It has been called Inner growth, mindfulness, a spiritual awakening….
In 2015 a request went out in the US & Germany: “How would you define the term ‘spirituality’?”and over 1,77o people answered. 10 concepts divided into 3 groupings (see chart above) emerged from an analysis of the responses

PRACTICAL Spirituality – Regular Renewal of:
• Commitment to & relationship with a personal Higher Power of your understanding
• Transcendent experience(s) that energize – developing our higher self (the soul)
• Basic trust, that we belong. Resilient people have learned to trust their experience, intelligence & intuition. They don’t depend on over or under-trusting other people, but have a deep reliance on a power greater than themselves

• Sound values – a meaningful life philosophy to support & guide relationships
• Self-acceptance – we are the way God made us. Value that!
• Hope – believing in realistic possibilities & knowing practical options encourages constructive living in the present, thereby being responsible for future outcomes
• Forgiveness – for oneself, & Reconciliation – with others, when possible
• Community participation with others of shared spiritual values, nurturing interactions with people & nature (From: ‘The Coach of Choice’)

2. Humility (not humiliation, which is = to shame)
Being in charge of our own life is one of the cornerstones of Resilience (R.). That’s balanced against Humility – knowing & accepting our imperfections as human beings, without self-condemnation. Resilient people do not aspire to perfection! True resilience is based in reality, & Higher Truth is that only Higher Power is perfect – no human can even aspire to it.

Perfectionism is a cognitive distortion (CD) many ACoAs are deeply committed to 😇 – from deep in the mind of our WIC. Catch yourself saying : “I don’t have to be perfect”. This implies you could be, you just don’t have to. NO – you can’t AT ALL.

Trying to be perfect is trying to be God! It’s true that not everyone believes in a Higher Power, but even on a psychological level – struggling to do the impossible always leads to disappointment, adding to our sense of abandonment.
Re. shame : John Bradshaw noted that there’s such a thing as psychologically ‘healthy shame’, which admits to realistic limitations. It’s the opposite of grandiosity – the child’s belief that they have no limits & there are no bad consequences.

3. Emotions
Developing emotional equilibrium is part of Spiritual Resilience, by correctly evaluating a situation, safely sharing the pain & receiving emotional comfort. Some psychologists have become aware of the connection between emotional regulation & religion.
Spirituality helps balance well-managed emotions with accurate healthy thinking, to form a spirit-in-action attitude that allows us to succeed by being ‘in the flow’ of life-energy.
Spiritual practices that help people cope with trauma-generated intense emotions include:
• Prayer, an exercise in religious re-framing of events
Acceptance & Forgiveness, which nurture empathy & modify harsh emotions
• Meditation & Mindfulness, reducing excessive arousal

HAND – explanations // the Jin Shin Jyutsu version w/ healing exercises //
As hand acupuncture

NEXT: Spiritual resilience #3

Developing RESILIENCE – spiritual (Part 1)

PREVIOUS: Resilience – emotions #2

SITE: Spiritual life coaching
(non-Christian)

BENEFIT:  Resilient people tend to find some bit of silver lining even in the worst situations, & are *Grateful* for the things they still are & have. While they certainly see & admit the bad, they’re not limited by it, or stuck in it

SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE (S>R>)
DEF: The ability to sustain one’s sense of self & purpose through a set of principles or values.
While it may be in the form of specific religious beliefs for many, it’s more than that – it’s a way of life. The West is going back to the awareness that Spiritual health is important in balancing heart & mind – which the East has never forgotten.

Spirituality can be:  Connecting with the sacred, believing in a Higher Power & having a personal experience, understanding life through experiences, wanting to understand the existential self, finding meaning & purpose, having ethical values & beliefs, positive relationships & helping others, & experiencing transcendence.

In broad terms, whether religious or not, Spirituality can be thought of as:
• Moral Responsibility: A healthy value system (personal code of ethics), spiritual
choosing what’s right for ourselves first & then in relation to others
• Congruence: Acting honestly, living by our principles & listening to our intuition
• Altruism: Being concerned for all humanity, & doing what we can to help others – realistically, from healthy motives

Interesting: Various US military branches are now actively including Spirituality in their Resiliency Training. “As a pillar of Comprehensive Airman Fitness, maintaining & strengthening individual spirituality is a primary component for one’s overall well-being.” Fairchild AF Base, Wash.
Capt. Jeffrey Solheim (a 92nd Air Refueling Wing chaplain) explained that “Spiritual Resilience is about fueling & refueling our heart & soul – that inward part that help to make sense of our existence & experiences…..”

Spiritual beliefs & general ‘right’ thinking allows people to see the world thru a positive (but realistic) lens, which benefits our day-to-day functioning, & offers solace in turbulent times – especially if supported by participation in like-minded communities.
A Spiritual focus helps to decrease anxiety, depression, addictions & suicide, while increasing personal & family stability. It gives people the strength to work toward personal improvements, or to fulfill lifelong dreams.  (RAND Corp paper for the US Air Force).

In 2009, the Defense Department (DoD) conducted a psychological study showing how spirituality has helped service members cope with difficult & traumatic events. The study found most use spirituality to cope with multiple deployments, combat stress or injury. The research also found that it lessens being overwhelmed by “moral injuries” – from participating in or witnessing terrible acts of war that conflict with one’s moral beliefs.

Before looking deeper into characteristics of S>R> – some comments:
Many ACoAs are OK with some kind of spiritual life, while others don’t believe in any Higher Power. Many of us are angry at ‘the God of our understanding’, because our understanding is immature. As kids we prayed & prayed for the alcoholic to stop drinking, for the rage, beatings & other abuses to end – but they didn’t. So we hate God – because we don’t understand the Laws of nature.  It’s a substitute for feeling legitimate rage at our parents, siblings……

John Bradshaw pointed out that “Until the age of 7 we deify our parents. After that we parentalize our deity”.  So if our parents were drunk, mean, absent, judgemental, perfectionistic, narcissistic…. then we assume God is too & we don’t trust H.P. or want anything to do with spirituality.
But God is not an alcoholic parent! In recovery, one woman realized that she couldn’t trust a ‘male’ god because her father was brutal. So she decided to think of H.P. as female, & was then able to consider trusting “a power greater than ourselves.”

Since we are all spiritual beings, we are short-changing ourselves by not correcting our WIC’s mis-understanding, & updating our perspective – whatever form that takes. 12-Step Programs like Al-Anon are spiritual-based, using the power of the Steps & the group to heal our wounds. But it does not ask us to be religious, or even ‘believe’. Only to “keep an open mind & keep coming back.”
(Wide variety of articles re. faith, religion, spiritual anger…..)

NEXT: Resilience – Spiritual #2

Developing RESILIENCE – emotions (Part 2)

PREVIOUS: R-emotions #1

Art work on Pictame: by Karina Sep from Poland
Translation,
from top left to top right: Embrace Change – old state, decision to change, jump head first, chaos & confusion, defense against change, depression, I embrace it, second breath, new me, joy at the top, new life.

NOTABLE: ❤️ In a comfortable space my reality will be agreed with, validated & unchallenged. I don’t have to explain myself to be understood, or justify my feelings, because we all share them.
💛 In a safe place I can ask Qs without being judged. I can say what I think & know it will be validated as my Truth. Others can disagree, but it’s OK because that allows shared understanding & growth.
💝 True dialogue happens where everyone is safe but not always comfortable.
(from
Seattle Girl’s School)

REQUIREMENTS for Emotional Resilience (E>R>)
Self-esteem : Have a clear sense of your True Self, & are comfortable with all your qualities & characteristics, even those you want to improve or enhance. You know you are a basic source of feeling loved

Motivation : (internal locus of control) Know in your cells that you have the right to be in charge of your own life – as an adult – & are not pushed around by outside forces. So you have choices, in most situations

Acceptance : In touch with your needs – what’s lacking, what good for you & what’s bad for you, or OK things that simply don’t suit – and when it’s time to reach out for some extra help

Permission : Have come to believe you have a right to all your Es, because they are a basic warning system of danger, & a great source of comfort & pleasure

Awareness: Learned to identify what Es you’re experiencing, either at the time or soon after

Responsibility : Know that your Es come from inside, rather than being caused by external people, places or things (PPT)

Courage : Willing to risk facing your emotions, in spite of being afraid of the pain. It will depend on having the right external support

Capacity : Know you have a wide range of Es, that you can have more than one E at a time, & that they can sometimes be contradictory

Focus : Notice & keep a connection to pleasant, positive Es, balancing them against the unpleasant ones

SKILLS for E>R>
Control : Able to regulate your E responses, considering the situations you’re in

Feel : Able to sit with Es instead of using distraction – but not necessarily alone

Body info: Able to locate & experience physical sensations in your body that go with current Es, good at catching even subtle cues (clutch in the heart, Ick factor in the stomach, tingling nerves from fear ….)

Triggers: Identify, accept & work on the things that set you off the most (like being accused wrongly) – buttons installed by your family

Boundaries : Know what are your Es, & don’t take on the Es of other people in your environment, no matter how much you love or care about them

Reality: Separate who you are at your core from any situation or person that’s causing you temporary suffering

Time: Understand & accept that all emotional wounds take time to heal – just like physical injuries (process). And that some – like deep abandonment pain – may never completely go away, but can be greatly reduced

Balance: Find & retreat to your personal sweet spot of peacefulness, when needed, & being presence in the moment without judgment (mindfulness)

Support: Gravitate to healthy people who are happy to share your joys with you, as well as give you the space to grieve or work through other painful Es

Trust : Know you don’t have to push to figure everything out, rather – allowing the time for your natural internal process & intuition to find solutions to difficult Qs in the face of traumatic events

Attention : Keep an eye out for the things that recharge your batteries, & fill your cup., so you’ll have the reserves you need for the hard times

Connections : Understand, accept, & empathize with other people’s feelings more easily because of being in touch with your own inner life. Can pick up social / emotional signals from others

Gratitude : Identifying & valuing your personality assets & accomplishment, as well as the good people, places & things in your life – help put great pain or small annoyances in proper emotional proportion & perspective

Faith : in a Power greater than yourself Who can & will help get you thru painful events

NEXT: Resilience – Spirituality

Developing RESILIENCE – emotions (Part 1)

PREVIOUS: Resilient Thinking – #2

SITEs: 15 Traits of Emotionally Wealthy People

POSTS: All about Es (June/July 2011) & Accepting & Accessing Es (2012)


EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE (E>R>)
Emotional (E) STYLE the consistent way we respond to our experiences, governed by specific brain circuitry that can be measured scientifically. All stressors trigger emotional responses, so we need a solid mental & emotional foundation to help us cope.

Growth GOAL:
To be in charge of our Es, & to toughen up (not be so vulnerable!) without losing our soft, sensitive strengths & becoming cold, hard & bitter 

DEF of E>R>

• An emotionally flexible state allowing a person to return to a previous ‘even keel’ by making big or little adjustments in response to stressful situations, without loss of basic identity
The capacity to bend or stretch without breaking, make meaning out of adversity & return to original condition

ACoAs: Of course – what we return to after another upsetting situation can hardly be called ‘an even keel’. The norm for us is some combination of depression, anger & isolation – fight or flight or freeze. So we’re not looking to bounce back to that, but aim for P-TGpost trauma growth.

Process: A major prerequisite for gaining E>R> is lowering the anxiety level that’s left over from our damaged childhood. That comes with doing deep FoO work, sometimes aided by the right kind of meds. It includes:
— Finding the right combination of support systems
— Getting new, correct info about addictions & our human needs /rights
Correcting Toxic Beliefs, & changing defensive behaviors
— Re-experiencing old painful emotions, & learning to comfort ourselves

Frame-Reframe: Our E. are related to what we’re thinking about ourselves & a person or event, which is related to our early experiences.
In a tough situation, ask which parts of it are permanent & which can possibly change:
Is my reaction colored by my wounded past OR seen thru healthy adult eyes?  // Do I need to think about this differently, OR is my evaluation accurate?”  (<—- CHART)

Pleasant Es: ACoAs are addicted to painful emotions – what we lived with day-in-day-out as kids. Healing allows us access to the pleasant-to-joyful ones as well, maybe for the 1st. time. All the literature refers to them as “Positive”, which implies we should not have the ‘negative one’. But we need a wide range, while not being stuck in old pain.

Research suggests that pleasant Es (amusement, awe, enjoyment, gratitude, hope, love, pride, respect, serenity….) provide many benefits:
Increases curiosity, open decision-making, mindfulness, physical health (7-10 years longer) – including peripheral vision, connections with people, combining ideas more easily, & hopeful dreams into practical outcomes
Encourages emotional flexibility, healthy helping, the sense of ‘we’ instead of just ‘me’, tolerance of ambiguity & uncertainly

Handling Es : In ‘R.-individual #1‘, self-regulation was related to actions. Here it’s in relation to Es. Emotions move us. Whether conscious or unconscious, all Es tell us to either Approach, Avoid, or Attack something or someone.

So, emotional resilience must include being in charge of our emotional responses & related actions. Self-regulation is the capacity to manage strong feelings & impulses rather than behave inappropriately – the ability to calm oneself down when anxious or angry, & cheer oneself up when sad or depressed.

This doesn’t come naturally for young children because their emotions are bigger-than-life, their brain not yet fine-tuned – programmed to be aroused (up) rather than to be dampened (down). So it’s a skill all children must learn from adults – as their role models – caretakers who are usually in control of their own Es & willing to actively sooth the children, whenever they’re upset.

For those of us who got little or no soothing & had depressed or volatile parents – it takes time, consistent effort & lots of help – to develop this ability now. We need:
• new role models – kind, reasonable, fail, available, sober, & with boundaries
• AND daily communication with both healthy & wounded Inner Kids
(POSTS: resisting dialoguing)

❤️ This model can be used to help the WIC deal difficult or unpleasant Es:
JUMP In! means Recognize & acknowledge them
STAND Strong! means Own them & Survive
RISE Up! means Grow From them & Thrive …..(explanations)
QUOTE:
“Love does not need to be understood, just to be demonstrated” ~ Paulo Coelho

NEXT
: R- emotions #2

Developing RESILIENCE – thinking (Part 2)

PREVIOUS: Resilience #—

SITE: Basic differences between Optimists, Pessimists & Realists”


MENTAL RESILIENCE (cont.)
Being mentally resilient gives us ‘response flexibility’ – the ability to pause > step back > reflect > shift perspectives > create options > & choose wisely.  Psychologist Linda Graham calls this process ‘de-centering’ – a way to not get lost in the moment. Then we can observe the experience from a neutral standpoint, & try to solve the problem – using appropriate thinking, instead of acting on impulse.

As a starting point for this ability – when a child is upset, but only crying, pouting or raging – an attentive, caring parent could say “Use your words! Tell me what’s bothering you.” Once the child is old enough to form thoughts & has a basic knowledge of emotion words – this can be very beneficial. Taking a breath & the time to identify feelings & thoughts,  effectively switches the brain from the emotional narrative side (Right), to the observational, thinking side (Left). This is not to deny or suppress the child’s upset, but rather it’s teaching them to find balance, which  promotes resilience.

 “Living well is the best revenge” includes keeping a realistic sense of optimism, by accurate & flexible thinking in every situation.
Reframing how we think about stressful events & correcting any cognitive distortion helps make things turn out better, in spite of unfair & undeserved suffering.

Dr. Martin Seligman put together the ABC model of “Learned Optimism:
“Beliefs (B) about an adversity (A) – not the adversity itself – cause the consequent (C) feelings. (see Post)
This means that external events do not automatically cause our Emotions – since what bothers one person is neutral to another – but rather come from what we think about those events – which can be modified or changed. (More…..)

All forms of resilience require a certain level of maturity. Most of us are some combination of the following categories (Least to Most ‘psychologically/ spiritually’ mature) & we can even switch between them during the day.

OPPORTUNISTS – are very adaptable, seeing opportunities everywhere they can take advantage of, with little regard to how it affects others (think Quark of DS9)

PESSIMISTS – are either ‘addicted’ to a deprivation mentality, or skeptical worriers who need proof that something’s safe before they agree with an idea, take on a task, a relationship, a new way of life….

REALISTS – are independent, practical-minded & excellent problem-solvers. They see things as they are, without sugar-coating

OPTIMISTS – are generally look at the bright side of things, appreciating every little thing, & tend not to ‘understand’ anyone who’s depressed & negative (think Goldie Hawn, Jenna Elfman)

IDEALISTS – look for things that have deeper meanings, working to form genuine relationships. They have a bright outlook on the future, but aren’t always realistic enough. Helping & seeing others succeed brings them joy.

NOTE: What the top cartoon ↗️ does not include is that when Optimists are punched by life – they get up again & move on! 

 

 

Pessimism  & Optimism on the brain
Neuro-scientists studying Ps & Os (with college students in the West) noticed that several parts of the brain (IFG=inferior frontal gyrus, the amygdala & anterior cingulate cortex) were activated differently when subjects were shown negative, neutral or positive images.
One result seen in these 2 scans:
a. When ‘finding out the world is better than you thought’ – updating beliefs in a positive direction – scans showed increased activity in the left IFG.

b. When updating beliefs in a negative direction (‘finding out the world is worse than you thought’), pessimists showed significant decreased activation in the right IFG.  The worse the participant’s mood (from a questionnaire), the higher the activation in that area.

In comparing Ps & Os, when using updated beliefs in a negative direction, both optimists & pessimists showed similar activation in the left IFG, & pessimistic participants had significantly less reaction in their right IFG than optimists.
Several other studies have tied activation in the right IFG to pessimistic thinking.

Neurotransmitter systems also can differentiate Os & Ps. Sufficient Dopamine seems important in maintaining the positive bias, & low Serotonin has been implicated in the negative bias. (MORE….)

BTW – correcting chemical imbalances is the reason for taking meds – although not everyone can take them safely.

NEXT: Resilience – Emotions #1

Developing RESILIENCE – thinking (Part 1)

PREVIOUS: Resilience #2

SITE: RESILIENCE 101….
re. thinking

 

 


MENTAL RESILIENCE
What we think
how we talk to ourselves – affects the quality of every part of our life. Research show that the #1 roadblock to resilience (R). is not genetics or past difficulties, but negative thinking (as adults). Our 5 senses always take in much more info that the brain can process easily or quickly. So to cope, it creates mental shortcuts (mostly unconscious), to simplify & make sense of it all, especially when under stress. Unfortunately this can backfire, often trapping us into making assumptions & jumping to conclusions.

When trying to figure out what’s went wrong, we wonder:
• Who caused the problem? (me / not me)
• How long will it last? (always / not always)
• How much of my life does it effect? (all / not all)
ACoAs usually answer these Qs based on childhood damage rather than current reality. Even for the slightest frustration or annoyance, like not being able to find something at home, much less the big hurts, we answer (from the WIC) : Who = me , How long = always , How much = all of it!
Note how they fit the ‘Pessimist’ column in ‘Thinking #2′

Instead, being able to handle stressors well is built on positive beliefs about ourselves & the world. Facing difficulties & disappointments takes courage, sticking to goals, being creative, learning from them – for future reference – & not getting trapped in ‘victim mentality’.  And it starts with our inner dialogue – how kindly, respectfully we talk to ourselves.

What are some of your negative labels that can be changed into legitimate positives?
EXP: In a desperate attempt to prevent feeling abandoned, many ACoAs will keep chasing the wrong kind of people (unavailable, needy, narcissistic….who can’t connect) & in wrong ways (pushy, people-pleasing, controlling….) . This leads to constant disappointment, making us label ourselves ‘stupid, undesirable, ugly, useless…..’

While our choice of relationships may need a radical shift, our drive to connect is actually very healthy. So we can legitimately say that, as chasers, we’re curious, persevering, determined, courageous.…. With this cognitive correction we can use those qualities to persevere in new, positive directions. Then we can chase & catch – the good things in life that fit our True Self!

Post-traumatic growth (P-TG)
Traditional psychology equates thriving with R., which is: “reaching the previous level of functioning before a trauma”. However, the recovery point for thriving goes above & beyond R., to finding benefits within each challenge.
Q: How is it that some people – when they fall down – can get up, dust themselves off & keep going, even improve, after very bad experiences?
ANS: They have helpful inner resources AND the right kind of external help.

We can find examples of P-TG in ancient spiritual traditions, literature, & philosophy. New studies of R. (‘benefit finding’) verify that after trauma – in spite of all their suffering – some people experience them as valuable life-changing events.
THEY:
— rise to a new level of functioning, maybe shaken out of routine or limitation
— have a new understanding of the world, & an appreciation for being alive
— find unexpected possibilities open to them, & can tap into creativity
— develop greater inner strength than they thought possible
— have more emotional intimacy with loved ones & gain a deeper spirituality
— are less triggered & have faster recovery time after future stressors

These mentally resilient people look at any problem or difficulty, & ask, ‘What are some solutions? , What action is most useful? , What are my available choices?, What do I need to improve?…..’ Seeing painful events as a chance to problem-solve & learn something builds confidence. They also develop the habit of moving thru the pain instead of running from it,  preventing bitterness & resentments.

It makes them winners, no matter how limited their real-life options may be, because they’re happier – which is better for them & everyone around them. Realistic optimists don’t do drama. Without being in denial about the level of difficulty they face, they experience every situation in its proper proportion. For winners there are no unbearable events. They just build their castles out of every stone life throws at them!
And they say YES to any & all good things that come their way.

NEXT: Resilience – Thinking #2