You’ve heard of Post Traumatic Stress.
How about Post Traumatic Resilience?
We each have the capacity to use difficulties to grow more fully into who we really are.
In her book, The Upside of Stress, Kelly McGonigal explains how research on trauma survivors has identified post traumatic resilience.
In Rwanda, where people have experienced decades of horrifying trauma, those who emerge as resilient are said to have kwigirira ikizere: strong heart. They develop self confidence and courage in the face of challenges.
Resilient individuals also show kwihangana: a trust in the future and in other people. They do not lose hope and they find meaning in their problems.
In Rwanda, resilience is seen as a social process, not just an individual trait.
Studies of people all over the world support this perspective.
People who have meaningful connections with others generally live longer, have fewer symptoms, feel healthier and happier and consistently rate higher on emotional, mental and physical well-being scales.
Research shows that when we offer help and when we ask for help we feel less anxious, more empowered and our ability to cope with challenges improves.
Thinking you must figure out all of your problems or trying to accomplish your goals all by yourself worsens the negative effects of stress.
Connecting in supportive community improves your stress resilience.
Take a moment. Soften into yourself. Feel your breath in your body and ask yourself kindly:
What kind of connections in the past have helped me deal with the challenges of stress?
How has support from others in times of stress helped me become more courageous, compassionate and confident?
What is one step I want to take toward creating community connection that will develop my strong heart- and the strong hearts of those around me?