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The Magic of Misfortunate Events

By January 21, 2019 No Comments

Resilience. Emotional agility. Psychological vitality. Regardless of the name we give it, this skill has a important impact on how we deal with life.

Business losses, health problems, family issues. How we react to such adversities determines our future fulfilment. It also determines whether we can restore magic and meaning to our lives afterwards.

It’s completely normal to experience negative emotions like sadness or anxiety when encountering the inevitable adversities of life. And it can be tempting to believe that one adversity will cause more problems. Or even worse: to believe it will become a downward negative spiral leading to debilitating negative conditions like PTSD. However, science shows that typical responses to adversity only involve a short period of negative emotions. This is followed by a return to our baseline happiness. There is also a seductive allure to focus on the disabling conditions of life, rather than the enabling ones. Subsequently, we are likely underestimating the prevalence of resilience we all have (Bonanna, 2004).

The good news is that regardless of where we are in life, our brains can be rewired to become more resilient. One way is by shifting focus to the meaning we find in our way, so we can use negative emotions productively.

Take stress, for example. After hearing a laundry list of reasons to “not stress”, many people then stress about being stressed. This creates a negative feedback loop. But researchers have shown that many disadvantages of stress disappear for people who view stress as a useful, energizing tool (Achor, Crum, & Salovey, 2013; Keller et al., 2012). Some people may look to stress as a catalyst to keep them going, however, the alternative side can cause people to crash and burn, resulting in a longer period of stress and the possibility of depression. This is why discussing stress-relieving options with a doctor is a necessity, as they may turn to alternative medicine such as medical marijuana to help tackle stress from a different angle. To find out more about this, websites such as amuse.com can provide more sources of marijuana and provide further knowledge in this area. There are various cannabis-based products available online like CBD oil, gummies, etc. which could help you in dealing with anxiety and depression. These could provide you with a kind of relaxation that you might need. Purchasing CBD oils with discounts using coupons such as a Plus CBD Oil Coupon could be a good idea if you were looking to procure cannabinoid-related consumables. Another alternative could be an herb vaporizer and bong. Though mostly it depends on your preference between the two. You may have to check out a few comparison blogs to decide on which one should you choose since both have their pros and cons.

Taking this a few steps further is the notion of Post Traumatic Growth. This is where a traumatic experience causes an individual to grow stronger than before the trauma (Calhoun & Tedeschi, 2014). Think of Stephen Hawking. Paralyzed, no muscle function, no speech. Yet, he became one of the most respected thinkers: mathematician, physicist and cosmologist. And now his computerized speech is recognized as the voice of the cosmos!

Next time life throws you off course, ask yourself something… What would life be like if you could develop a habit of psychological resilience? Would you still view adversity and obstacles as problems? Or as gifts in disguise? What are the hidden opportunities of adversity? And how can you unlock this hidden, magical treasure of resilience for yourself…?

References

  • Bonanno, G. A. (2004). Loss, trauma, and human resilience: Have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events?. American psychologist, 59(1), 20.
  • Bonanno, G. A. (2005). Resilience in the face of potential trauma. Current directions in psychological science, 14(3), 135-138.
  • Calhoun, L. G., & Tedeschi, R. G. (2014). The foundations of posttraumatic growth: An expanded framework. In Handbook of posttraumatic growth. Routledge.
  • Crum, A. J., Salovey, P., & Achor, S. (2013). Rethinking stress: The role of mindsets in determining the stress response. Journal of personality and social psychology, 104(4), 716.
  • Keller, A., Litzelman, K., Wisk, L. E., Maddox, T., Cheng, E. R., Creswell, P. D., & Witt, W. P. (2012). Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality. Health Psychology, 31(5), 677.