Post Traumatic Growth

This week has been busy and fun – the highlights being my keynote talk to the 2nd Year students at Nottingham Trent University and my regular coaching sessions. I have read the feedback from the students and it is very positive indeed.

It is really good to read the comments from these young people who were inspired with my story of recovery from many setbacks and who feel that they too can improve the way they respond to stress by following the techniques I share.

Exciting week ahead

Next week is quite exciting as I am speaking in Dusseldorf Germany. This has been booked as a direct result of a session I ran over a year ago for the NSG Group which is one of the world’s largest glass manufacturers based in Japan.

Marcel Deveraux was one of the delegates from around the world who attended, and we have finally arranged a session in Germany. I am really looking forward to this trip where I will be able to share some great tips and techniques on Mental Resilience as well as running relaxation and visualisation exercises.

I came across this amazing story of someone who chose to respond positively to things going wrong in her life:

Lisa Honig Buksbaum

‘Walking on the beach, trying to understand why she was hit with a triple dose of tragedy, Lisa Honig Buksbaum felt that she heard a voice. “Soaring Words,” it seemed to whisper.
It meant something, she knew. It had to.

She didn’t hear things like this often. But how was such an abstract thought going to help her overcome the grief she felt over her 35-year-old brother’s sudden death, her father’s cancer diagnosis and her young son’s fight to recover from a life-threatening bout of rheumatic fever?

She followed her gut instinct

Three years later, with her father and son on the mend, she followed the voice. Shutting her Manhattan marketing firm where she helped Fortune 500 companies reinvent themselves, she started a non-profit organisation to help seriously ill children and their families deal with the agony of life-threatening disease, soul-crushing treatments and, sometimes, death.

The name of her organization? Soaring Words, naturally.

Buksbaum’s 2001 decision to answer a seemingly supernatural call to use her personal struggles to help others is far from unique. There’s even a name for it: post-traumatic growth.

Scientific evidence

Richard Tedeschi, a psychologist Buksbaum studied while honing her program that helps critically ill and impoverished children feel better about themselves by giving others a hand, coined the term after interviewing people about how they dealt with the awful vagaries of life.

“It’s not an uncommon thing,” says Tedeschi, who teaches psychology at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. His research with fellow psychologist Lawrence Calhoun showed that about one-half to two-thirds of people who lose loved ones, suffer disfiguring accidents or endure other calamities ultimately experience post-traumatic growth.

A huge organisation

Since founding her organization, which has reached more than 250,000 children in 30 states and 12 countries, the 55-year-old mother of two has watched the magic of giving back help people rebuild shattered lives. Chronically ill children—listless and depressed after spending months in the hospital—perk up when given the chance to make a simple gift for someone else, she says.

She recalls the joyful satisfaction of a 7-year-old as he spent days crafting a rainbow unicorn for another sick child. His beaming smile is one of hundreds she has seen on ailing children, parents and volunteers.

Amazing results

“The results are unbelievable,” Buksbaum says. “We all experience positive emotions as a result of doing something altruistic and compassionate.”

In surveys of 250 seriously ill children in pediatric hospitals in Florida, New York and Illinois, she found that those who had been given the chance to make simple gifts for other sick children felt significantly better about themselves than those who weren’t given the same opportunity.

More joyful, less worried

Children reported feeling more joyful, less worried, more excited, less tired, more hopeful and less scared after doing something as simple as colouring a picture for another child.
“It’s not pop psychology,” Buksbaum says. “It’s based on science.”

This science helped her understand the confusing words that came to her that day on the beach. The word “soar” was an acronym, she realized. To Buksbaum, SOAR stands for Somatic response (relating to the body); Outcomes (actions that can be measured empirically); Agency (something that gives people a sense of control); and Reciprocity (the sense of being connected to others).’

Making a huge difference

What a great story of inspiration and making a huge difference. It is good to hear confirmation that helping others gives us positive feelings so it’s a win/win situation.

Thoughts for the week.

1. How do you respond to adversity?
2. This week see if you can do something for someone to help them in some way and observe how you feel when you have done this.
3. I have often said that one of the ways to true happiness is helping others with nothing in return. The feelings you get are unique and unobtainable in any other way.

Well that’s it for this week have a wonderful weekend and stay positive.

Warm regards


Off the Wall – How to Develop World Class Mental Resilience available HERE (Special offer. Put in code 10POUND when prompted to receive a signed copy for £10 including postage and packing – UK only)

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