From Mourning to Post Traumatic Growth

orchid-in-ashfaltOur nation is in a period of mourning. It’s been over a week since the political earthquake and we’ve yet to begin our recovery. We’re caught in the early stages of grief, feeling angry and sad, far from the acceptance that comes at the end of a healing process.

Whether we receive our information through news media coverage or social media sites, it’s all about adversity and uncertainty. Some people are frustrated or disillusioned and involved in targeted reactions – protests, boycotts, petitions. Others are feeling vulnerable and worried about their family and friends. Trying to make sense of the chaos while protecting against assaults on minorities and immigrants, they’re afraid of what may come next. But we only rise above difficulty when our voices are truly heard.

These are disturbing times. How we look at challenges often dictate our responses. When we’re feeling stressed and helpless in the face of suffering, resilience is one of our most adaptive qualities. Take a lesson from Nelson Mandela: 

Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair.

All of our thoughts are mental products although they don’t necessarily reflect an absolute reality. You can begin to change your mindset by reframing negative thoughts into positive ones. Consider these possibilities:

Can you feel encouraged by looking at what is good around you and within yourself? Can you be courageous going forward by speaking up for your beliefs? Can you take action and find conviction by supporting a cause or lifting others up?

Post-traumatic growth is a psychological term that refers to how adversity can be a springboard to deeper meaning. Think about this:

What if you were to re-evaluate your priorities, learn more about those who are different than you, broaden your perspective? Try to connect with others through strong emotions you share or a common purpose. We need to bounce forward at this time when our aspirations for this country seem to be in jeopardy. Often hope is the best possible path. We’re all on the same team so why don’t we begin to really listen to each other? It’s time to start reuniting the United States.

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