Monday, February 13, 2012

The Silver Lining

IEP meetings.  Endless conversations with health insurance providers.  Constant paperwork.  Special diets. Therapy expenses.  Finding a babysitter.  Night after night of interrupted sleep.  Budgets stretched to the limit.  Holidays.  Birthdays.  Travel - or lack of.  Dispensing medication.  Doctor appointments.

Have I got your stress level up yet?

Well, have I got some good news for you today!

It turns out, if you have challenges in your life, you're tougher than the average Joe.

If you've experienced a traumatic event such as a divorce or loss of a job or death of a family member or if you live with chronic illness, just to name a few, these kinds of life events, while still incredibly hard, can actually benefit you in the long run.

Mark D. Seery, Ph.D, a psychology professor at the University of Buffalo, studied the effects of these types of hardships on individuals.

Dr. Seery notes:

 “Experiencing some adversity may create a sense of mastery over past adversity, teach coping skills, establish effective social-support networks, and promote cell growth in brain areas relevant for coping,” he says. 

It’s similar to the way you get stronger after a workout, Seery says. “Just as the body requires exertion to improve fitness, there is no opportunity for toughness to develop if someone has never coped with stress; likewise, physical overexertion can be harmful, and too much stress disrupts toughening,” he says.

It turns out that old saying, "What doesn't kill you, makes your stronger", is actually true.

So take heart.

When you're in the middle of a difficult situation, remember that your body and your mind are changing, becoming more resilient in an effort to protect you and make you even stronger for the future.

That's a pretty good silver lining, if you ask me.

Look on the Bright Side

Click here if you'd like to read more about this study.


14 comments:

  1. Hmmmm. I like it. I have a strong suspicion this post will stay with me and pop up in my head just when I need it most. Thanks, Lana. :)

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    1. Glad to help! I had to pay you back somehow for introducing me to vanilla chai! :)

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  2. Great post! What doesn't kill you really does make you stronger. And maybe just a wee bit frazzled.....eh? ;D

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    1. Definitely frazzled, especially in the midst of it all! Thanks for the comment!

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  3. And GRACE gets us through it all!

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  4. I hope that means we're tough as nuts! We might need that strength for the long haul!

    I'm feeling kind of fragile...I got robbed...so if these traumas make you stronger, I hope it happens soon!

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    1. So sorry to hear your news. I hope you're OK - at least physically. Maybe we're all really just tough AND nuts! :)

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  5. You got a sick way of looking for that silver lining, lady. I like it! :-)

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    1. Hey - we got to find that sunshine somewhere, right?? At least we can tell ourselves our brains are active and growing every day - and now science "proves" it!! Maybe that means I really AM smarter than the Bird!

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  6. There's always a bright side of every problem and a sunshine in every storm.

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    1. Sometimes it takes a whole lot more looking but it's there! Thanks for the comment!

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  7. All I can say is I'm trying to find the lining but sometimes it just seems way out of reach =(

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    1. I know, girl. I know. In fact, when I told Ryan about this study, he said he'd just rather have a smaller brain than have to learn to cope with so much... and he's a preacher! Keep looking, though! That sunshine is there. You remind me and I'll remind you. Deal?

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