Friday 19 June 2020

Post-Traumatic Growth: The New Norm after COVID-19

COVID-19 has shaken our ways of knowing and doing things to the core. Feelings can range from helplessness, shock, denial and disbelief. Our behaviours can be affected as well, i.e., getting easily confused, having difficulty focussing, and experiencing insomnia. Coping reactions can range from identifying with various possible negative outcomes to feeling detached. The question most often asked is “What is wrong with me?” Be aware that reaction is normal given the circumstances of an abnormal situation created by this pandemic but there are ways to transcend the negativity and feelings of helplessness.

We’re living through a collective trauma, but we don’t have to bow under its weight. Think of an earthquake. Do you live beneath the debris or do you build something that is better? Trauma’s power comes from rendering us powerless. It’s time to retake our power. How? The answer is reframing! By reframing your negative experiences as ways to achieve greater self-awareness and heightened compassion and deeper/more meaningful relationships both with others as well as with yourself. Post-traumatic growth is finding new meaning in your life. This could include changing how you conduct your business, changing your career, having a renewed appreciation for life and developing a plan on how you will try various opportunities, reconnecting with people after years of not communicating, learning a new skill or hobby, re-evaluating your short and/or long term goals, giving back to society in some way, and so on.

There is the expression to make lemonade out of lemons. Despite the sacrifices and/or suffering we endure, we can ask ourselves how can we emerge from this pandemic stronger and kinder than before?

I will end with a quote by Robert Leahy, PhD., New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center: “‘view this pandemic as a chapter in a book you are writing - chapters always end and if this is your book then how it plays out is totally up to you.”

Happy writing!

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