“Scientists have demonstrated that dramatic, positive changes can occur in our lives as a direct result of facing an extreme challenge – whether it’s coping with a serious illness, daring to quit smoking, or dealing with depression. Researchers call this ‘post traumatic growth.’ -Jane McGonigal
Keep this in mind whenever you are figuring out how dramatic, positive change can be good for you.
A lot of people really do not like dramatic experiences in life, but the reality is that we or someone we know has experienced something that has caused some type of dramatic change. The quote gives us three extreme challenges that can be uncomfortable to anyone, but at the same time, if handled properly, it can bring forth the dramatic change that can affect everything.
A serious illness can have a big effect on yourself, family, friends, co workers, and everyone else that you know. It can mentally, physically, and financially break down people when you think of the stress, pain, and cost involved with dealing with such an experience.
The beauty of such an experience is that a serious illness brings out two things: determination, hope, and change. For the person with the illness, if they think they can overcome the illness, they will go through whatever process is necessary to fight the odds and prove that they can overcome. For the people who know of the person with the illness, they start to find hope in that person, and it can cause them to start making changes to their own personal lives to ensure they do not face that life.
The end result is this: An serious illness may be bad on the surface, but it will cause post-traumatic growth in the fact that two things happened:
- The person with the illness has developed the ability in his or her worst moment to believe, fight, and do whatever it takes to overcome and become a better, healthier person.
- The people involved see the effects of the illness and it can cause them to start making changes in their lives so that they do not have to experience such an illness.
Smoking can be good and bad for a person at the same time. The negative effects of smoking are long and to the point of where it can cause cancer and even death. At the same time, there are some positives to smoking. Growing up around and knowing smokers, I have seen how smoking helps on two levels:
- When life seems to stress out smokers, just taking time out to smoke seems to relax and calm them down to where they can function normally. A calm smoker is a happy smoker in a lot of cases.
- Smoking may be the ultimate answer to breaking down social barriers. It is amazing to see how easily smoking can bring anyone and everyone together regardless of background, gender, or race. As long as you have a designated area, a lighter or match, and cigarettes, you will attract a total stranger faster than any social or dating site.
When challenging a person to quit, it can be a tougher battle than normal because that person either may not see the harm they are causing to themselves and others around them, plus they do not see the need to quit something that makes them feel good. Such a change can happen at any time, but mostly occurs when a person is seriously ill with some type of cancer or bronchitis due to smoking.
The beauty of this experience is that if a person is motivated to quit, it will bring them closer to those people who want them to quit and vice versa. The smoker will start to take advantage of the resources, counseling, and network he or she has to where day-by-by, it becomes easier to kick the habit to where one day, they succeed. As for those who know of the smoker, they step in to motivate and help the smoker while trying to develop a lifestyle where they do encounter the negative effects of smoking.
The end result: Smoking may be good and bad at the same time, but a motivated smoker who wants to quit can cause post-traumatic change in two ways in the fact that:
- The motivated smoker starts to take advantage of the resources and positive network around to kick the habit, replaces smoking with healthier alternatives such as exercising and travelling, and becomes a role model for other smokers who want to quit.
- The other people involved gets to see someone they know who quit smoking live a longer life, and it makes them to start making healthier changes to their lives.
Dealing With Depression
Depression is not anything fun to deal with, but we all deal with some type of depression through losses and deaths. Everyone deal with depression differently, so it is important to not treat a person’s state of depression as if it is not important. Depression can effect both the person and everyone involved because it brings down everyone involved and if not treated, it can keep everyone down and out.
Despite the darkness depression can cause, the beauty of dealing with depression is that it brings out communication among everyone. For the depressed person, talking about the issue can help other people see what the issues are, allow for the person to lift the burden off of their chests and minds, and allow for the resources and solutions to come into help them rise from their depression. For the people involved, talking about the issues can help them understand the issues as well and know how to support the person who is dealing with the depression.
The end result: Depression is something we all have to deal with on different levels, but people who choose to deal with it can bring forth post-traumatic in the fact that;
- The person dealing with depression is communicating and finding ways to deal with the depression to where they start to live their life and become happier by the day.
- For the person dealing with the depressed person, they learn how to communicate and help in ways that allow for them to experience a happier person to be around.
There are other experiences that we can list here, but the theme is still the same in that if we are all willing to allow the challenges to bring forth dramatic, positive changes, we all become better for doing it. Change is never easy, but without change, we will never grow. Let’s remember that extreme challenges can bring drama that you may not want, but if you and people around you are willing to deal with, you all can overcome and become better people in life.
I know this is a long one, but I want you to know that you and the people around you can overcome any extreme challenge as long as you are together as a team. I have a few questions to ask you, and feel free to share your comments and experiences below:
- Have you ever had an extreme challenge that you had to deal with?
- How did you deal with that challenge?
- How did it bring forth positive, dramatic change in your life?
-Michael J. Fite