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Thriving through adversity

Thriving through adversity

We hear a great deal on the news about the rise of mental health challenges through the Covid-19 pandemic. We have all been facing unprecedented challenges for over a year now. But did you know that experiencing challenges, or even trauma, doesn’t have to be a recipe for stress, mental illness or worse? Many people grow and thrive after struggling with adversity. At peoplewise we wanted to know how they do this – what it takes to thrive, not just survive whatever life throws at us.

Our ongoing research and practice at peoplewise have revealed exciting support for the concept of post-traumatic growth – the idea that people who endure psychological struggle following adversity often see positive growth afterward. Post-traumatic growth involves psychological shifts in thinking and ways of relating to the world that contribute to a personal and deeply meaningful process of change and growth. In fact, many more people tend to see growth after trauma than experience the more well-known post-traumatic stress disorder, and it’s also possible to experience both growth and stress symptoms after trauma at the same time.

While growth through suffering has been a focus for human philosophers for thousands of years, it was Dr Richard Tedeschi and Dr Lawrence Calhoun in the mid-1990s who first coined the term post-traumatic growth, and identified it as a focus area for psychologists. Since then there has been much research into the topic, helping to clarify the factors and approaches that can encourage growth after trauma.

Here at peoplewise, we have long believed that anyone can learn to thrive despite challenge and adversity. Our research and practice, building on the academic research, has identified what we refer to as the 7 pillars of positive resilience: 7 mutually reinforcing capabilities that can all be developed to build our ability to thrive.

Our 7 top tips for thriving, based on our 7 pillars of positive resilience are:

  • Be purposeful – focus on what really matters to you
  • Put it into perspective – look at the big picture, and be optimistic
  • Keep control – manage your emotions so they don’t swamp you
  • Stay connected – build and maintain meaningful relationships
  • Embrace opportunities for growth – be optimistic and open to possibilities
  • Balance pressure and performance – manage stress so it works for you
  • Nurture wellbeing – use diet, sleep and exercise to build both mental and physical health

We use the 7 pillars of positive resilience to help leaders to build stronger, more adaptive and higher performing organisations, by teaching individuals and teams to lean in to the learning from struggling with challenges and adversity to thrive as they grow their positive resilience. Read about some of our work at here and if you’d like to know more, please contact us at: letushelp@peoplewise.co.uk.