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sevenofwands
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« on: December 29, 2008, 08:56:09 AM »

This is not strictly a book but a leaflet.

The Road To Resilience
(Reprinted from the American Psychological Association's Help Center, www.apahelpcenter.org)

Introduction

How do people deal with difficult events that change their lives? The death of a loved one, loss of a job, serious illness, terrorist attacks and other traumatic events: these are all examples of very challenging life experiences. Many people react to such circumstances with a flood of strong emotions and a sense of uncertainty.

Yet people generally adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful conditions. What enables them to do so? It involves resilience, an ongoing process that requires time and effort and engages people in taking a number of steps.

This brochure is intended to help readers with taking their own road to resilience. The information within describes resilience and some factors that affect how people deal with hardship. Much of the brochure focuses on developing and using a personal strategy for enhancing resilience.

What Is Resilience?

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress -- such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. It means "bouncing back" from difficult experiences.

Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. People commonly demonstrate resilience. One example is the response of many Americans to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and individuals' efforts to rebuild their lives.

Being resilient does not mean that a person doesn't experience difficulty or distress. Emotional pain and sadness are common in people who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives. In fact, the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress.

Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.

Resilience Factors & Strategies

Factors In Resilience

A combination of factors contributes to resilience. Many studies show that the primary factor in resilience is having caring and supportive relationships within and outside the family. Relationships that create love and trust, provide role models, and offer encouragement and reassurance help bolster a person's resilience.

Several additional factors are associated with resilience, including:


The capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out
A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities
Skills in communication and problem solving
The capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses
All of these are factors that people can develop in themselves.

Strategies For Building Resilience
Developing resilience is a personal journey. People do not all react the same to traumatic and stressful life events. An approach to building resilience that works for one person might not work for another. People use varying strategies.

Some variation may reflect cultural differences. A person's culture might have an impact on how he or she communicates feelings and deals with adversity -- for example, whether and how a person connects with significant others, including extended family members and community resources. With growing cultural diversity, the public has greater access to a number of different approaches to building resilience.

Some or many of the ways to build resilience in the following pages may be appropriate to consider in developing your personal strategy.

10 Ways to Build Resilience
Make connections. Good relationships with close family members, friends, or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. Some people find that being active in civic groups, faith-based organizations, or other local groups provides social support and can help with reclaiming hope. Assisting others in their time of need also can benefit the helper.

Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You can't change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations.

Accept that change is a part of living. Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.

Move toward your goals. Develop some realistic goals. Do something regularly -- even if it seems like a small accomplishment -- that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, "What's one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?"

Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.

Look for opportunities for self-discovery. People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, greater sense of strength even while feeling vulnerable, increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality, and heightened appreciation for life.

Nurture a positive view of yourself. Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.

Keep things in perspective. Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion.

Maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.

Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.

Additional ways of strengthening resilience may be helpful. For example, some people write about their deepest thoughts and feelings related to trauma or other stressful events in their life. Meditation and spiritual practices help some people build connections and restore hope.

The key is to identify ways that are likely to work well for you as part of your own personal strategy for fostering resilience.

Learning From Your Past
Some Questions to Ask Yourself

Focusing on past experiences and sources of personal strength can help you learn about what strategies for building resilience might work for you. By exploring answers to the following questions about yourself and your reactions to challenging life events, you may discover how you can respond effectively to difficult situations in your life.

Consider the following:

What kinds of events have been most stressful for me?
How have those events typically affected me?
Have I found it helpful to think of important people in my life when I am distressed?
To whom have I reached out for support in working through a traumatic or stressful experience?
What have I learned about myself and my interactions with others during difficult times?
Has it been helpful for me to assist someone else going through a similar experience?
Have I been able to overcome obstacles, and if so, how?
What has helped make me feel more hopeful about the future?
Staying Flexible
Resilience involves maintaining flexibility and balance in your life as you deal with stressful circumstances and traumatic events. This happens in several ways, including:

Letting yourself experience strong emotions, and also realizing when you may need to avoid experiencing them at times in order to continue functioning
Stepping forward and taking action to deal with your problems and meet the demands of daily living, and also stepping back to rest and reenergize yourself
Spending time with loved ones to gain support and encouragement, and also nurturing yourself
Relying on others, and also relying on yourself
Places To Look For Help
Getting help when you need it is crucial in building your resilience. Beyond caring family members and friends, people often find it helpful to turn to:

Self-help and support groups. Such community groups can aid people struggling with hardships such as the death of a loved one. By sharing information, ideas, and emotions, group participants can assist one another and find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in experiencing difficulty.

Books and other publications by people who have successfully managed adverse situations such as surviving cancer. These stories can motivate readers to find a strategy that might work for them personally.

Online resources. Information on the web can be a helpful source of ideas, though the quality of information varies among sources.

For many people, using their own resources and the kinds of help listed above may be sufficient for building resilience. At times, however, an individual might get stuck or have difficulty making progress on the road to resilience.

A licensed mental health professional such as a psychologist can assist people in developing an appropriate strategy for moving forward. It is important to get professional help if you feel like you are unable to function or perform basic activities of daily living as a result of a traumatic or other stressful life experience.

Different people tend to be comfortable with somewhat different styles of interaction. A person should feel at ease and have good rapport in working with a mental health professional or participating in a support group.

Continuing On Your Journey
To help summarize several of the main points in this brochure, think of resilience as similar to taking a raft trip down a river.

On a river, you may encounter rapids, turns, slow water, and shallows. As in life, the changes you experience affect you differently along the way.

In traveling the river, it helps to have knowledge about it and past experience in dealing with it. Your journey should be guided by a plan, a strategy that you consider likely to work well for you.

Perseverance and trust in your ability to work your way around boulders and other obstacles are important. You can gain courage and insight by successfully navigating your way through white water. Trusted companions who accompany you on the journey can be especially helpful for dealing with rapids, upstream currents, and other difficult stretches of the river.

You can climb out to rest alongside the river. But to get to the end of your journey, you need to get back in the raft and continue.

 
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kevinjj
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2009, 11:15:15 AM »

To me, recovery is proactive and does not follow a time line and does not have goals and objectives, it is not linear, it is circular, it is emotional, not intellectual and it is lived and felt, whether or not we want it to be. Life is about how we handle loss, not what we acquire and possess and we experience loss in many ways and almost on a daily basis. Something is always ending,changing, falling apart, stopped, gone from us, completely different, we don't always get our way and what we want, we experience loss all the time - there is no recovery from anything, just adaptation, learning, acceptance, adjustment and experiencing our thoughts and feelings in the process of change. I instinctually knew very early after the dath of my wife that I had to take care of my body first and the mind would follow in due course and the terrible emotions would ease up after a while. The first few months were about staying as physically healthy as I could and getting some sleep at night. I think most of us in looking back don't really remember much of those first few months except alot of crying and feeling really bad.
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sevenofwands
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2009, 02:13:28 PM »

Yes, Kevin, recovery from any loss or trauma is pro-active, needs to be pro-active.
 
"We don't always get our way and what we want".....(Kevin said).  So very true, but funny how people seem to be unable to grasp that simple truth.  Put differently: "Life is unfair".  That is how it is. 

Things are always changing, will always be changing, that is the nature of life, falling apart, as you say, coming together again in a different shape. 

Seven

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sevenofwands
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2009, 02:16:36 PM »

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art60290.asp

Extract:


""By definition, Complicated Grief is the inability to process grief and move forward, accepting the loss. Painful emotions are severe and last a long time. There is usually more than one loss, further complicating the recovery process. The sufferer cannot make necessary changes to a different life, cannot move on. There is extreme focus on the death, and constant reference to the lost.

There is good news. Complicated Grief can be prevented by seeking support groups and counseling soon after a loss. Also look into what makes a person strong, or resilient, and work on that.

There is more good news. It’s curable. Space here doesn’t allow going into detail, but two things stand out. To overcome Complicated Grief, you must do something. Anything. Wishing and hoping it all goes away, or assuming time will heal, WON’T WORK. There is physical activity – yes, homework! - involved. Below you’ll see a link to an article that can help with The Tasks of Grief.""


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sevenofwands
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2009, 03:36:41 AM »

It's Complicated
Sadness over a loss is normal, and everyone grieves differently. But some people experience an especially intense kind of mourning.

Grief is often characterized as an emotional roller coaster: On some days, those who have lost a loved one feel incredibly sad and full of pain, while on other days they feel a lightness, or even a strange euphoria that comes from appreciating the person who has passed and reflecting on their own growth in the wake of the loss.

But some people feel consistently upset and preoccupied with the person who has passed away, to the point where their relationships and work suffer for months on end. Such a reaction is known as "complicated grief."

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/index.php?term=pto-4737.html
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sevenofwands
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2009, 02:19:11 PM »

http://www.youngwidowsandwidowers.com/Frame-2-whatnowpage2.html?refresh=1200927990678
Extract:

"Unless it is absolutely unavoidable, please do not make any major decisions for at least six months to a year. You're not in the right frame of mind. If you receive insurance, just put it in the bank, pay some important bills and wait until time has passed to see what you're going to do. Unexpected things come up in the first year and you do not want to make any financial mistakes or look back on decisions, such as quitting your job or moving, with regret.
Once the first year has passed you can look at your life one area at a time and start to make some decisions based on what's best for you then."

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sevenofwands
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2009, 08:39:17 AM »

"""Partners of widows/widowers experience different emotional challenges than do those who are remarried after a divorce. How the widowed person deals with his /her loss and how the new partner processes the reactions of the widowed individual, determines the success of the new relationship.

Losing a partner to death is a devastating experience. According to Holmes and Rahe’s Social Readjustment Scale, widowhood is the most stressful life-altering event for older adults. Debra Carr and Rebecca Utz of Rutgers University, detailed their research of spousal bereavement in their “Changing Lives of Older Couples (CLOG) study. They identified the components that contributed to widowhood grief as: anxiety, despair, shock, anger, yearnings and intrusive thoughts.

Most widowed individuals go through a period of adjustment to the loss of their spouse. Carr and Utz state: “how, where, and when one’s spouse dies may have profound implications for how the elderly bereaved adjusts to the loss.” Also, “how rewarding or conflicted the marital relationship was prior to the loss,” as well as personality attributes, and practical life readjustments, were contributory factors in managing the loss of a mate.

Though no standards are imposed on any grieving individual, some grieve longer and harder. Yale University psychologist Holly Prigerson, PhD, states: ”Roughly 15 percent of people who've lost a loved one might be susceptible to "complicated grief," a condition more severe than the average loss-related life transition, depression and anxiety. It is marked by broad changes to all personal relationships, a sense of meaninglessness, a prolonged yearning or searching for the deceased and a sense of rupture in personal beliefs.”

Some who date and marry older widowed individuals report having a difficult time with the presence of the deceased in their new partner’s life. If the widowed individual has elevated the deceased former mate to a status of a saint, it makes it impossible for them to attain a comparable status. They may also object to physical items of the departed still prominently displayed such as: wall portraits, objects and even clothing still present several years after the death of the mate.

Jealousy and competition with the memory of a deceased partner are a painful and conflicted emotions. Talking with the partner about removing the objects pertaining to the deceased spouse may feel harsh, insensitive and uncomfortable. Not discussing the presence of these remembrances of a past life may feel like a major discount to one’s primacy in the partner’s life.

Every individual in a committed relationship seeks to receive ongoing validation for his/her value and importance to the mate. All partners tend to deal with the presence of reminders of a past relationship with great care. Some widowed people are less aware of the impact their loving memories may have on their new spouse.

If you have been widowed and are in a new committed relationship:

• Make sure that you have completed your grieving process and are ready for a new life partner. If enough time has lapsed and you are still grieving, angry and unhappy, please seek professional help to facilitate your emotional comfort and optimize your level of functioning.
• Be aware that your new mate wants to feel as precious to you as your former spouse had been.
• Your current spouse is unable to live up to the status of perfection ascribed to your deceased spouse. Talk of your former mate with love and depict him/her in realistic, not idealized terms.
• Minimize the prominence of items of your former partner to embrace your new mate. It is not a sign of forgetting the deceased individual - it is a way to embrace life.
• Ask your new partner about his/her level of comfort with your environment, recollection and depiction of your current and former life. Make any necessary adjustments.

If you are in a relationship with a widowed individual:

• Make sure that your partner has completed his/her grieving.
• If the sorrow and angst persists, encourage your partner to check out the possibility of a complicated grief reaction.
• Understand that idealizing the deceased is a form of honoring one’s past relationship, not discounting the present one with you.
• Kindly ask for changes that will make you feel better, while appreciating your spouse for his/her devotion to the departed mate.
• Remember that a person who had a good relationship with a former spouse is likely to also have a healthy, loving and admiring relationship with you.""

Article by Offra Gerstein, Ph.D.
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sevenofwands
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2009, 01:46:14 PM »

A book:


"The Mourner's Dance"
What We Do When People Die
Katherine Ashenburg



"Contemporary North American culture favors a way of mourning that is, as we know, private and virtually invisible. But, as Ashenburg reveals, the grieving customs of the past were so integrated into daily life that ultimately they gave rise to public parks, department stores, and ready-to-wear clothing. Our keepsakes, prescribed bereavement garb, cemeteries, mourning etiquette, and ways of commiserating—from wakes to Internet support groups—remain clues to a society's most elemental beliefs and keys to personal consolation.

One of the prices we pay for human attachment is that we grieve when a loved one dies, and every society has found ways to support and contain the mourner's grief. Thus The Mourner's Dance uncovers the cultural heft, social import, and psychological wisdom embedded in these customs both ancient and new. This study also explores the function and value of such rituals in restoring selves, and whole communities, that have been unraveled by loss."

Review:

"Compassionate and compelling, chThe Mourner's Dance is a finely researched and beautifully expressed exploration of the many different paths that we take when we make the unavoidable journey through the territory of grief."—Jane Urquhart

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sevenofwands
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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2009, 05:58:02 AM »

http://www.gapsychology.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=305

Extract:


"""In his classic article, Engel (1961) posed the question, "Is grief a disease?" Grief is not generally considered a disorder but rather is viewed as an adaptation to a loss. In this respect, the process of grieving is similar to the process of healing. It involves working through the stages of grief. The tasks of grieving include experiencing the pain of grief, accepting the reality of the loss, adjusting to an environment in which the loved one is missing, and withdrawing one’s emotional energy and reinvesting it in another relationship. Failure to complete these tasks can result in impacted grief, which is a prolonged type of grief associated with depression. Impacted grief can block further growth and development. For example, the absence of family or social support during bereavement can complicate the process of grieving. Some of the early warning signs of unresolved grief are as follows:


Avoiding the funeral, not visiting the gravesite, or not participating in other rituals.


Not being able to talk about of the lost loved one without experiencing intense grief.


Experiencing an intense grief reaction triggered by some relatively minor event.


Noticing that themes of loss seem to come up frequently in casual conversations.


An inability or unwillingness to move material possessions belonging to the loved one.


Feeling compelled to imitate or take on habits or personality characteristics of the loved one.


Developing physical symptoms like those experienced by the deceased person before death.


Developing self-destructive thoughts or, conversely, developing a fear or phobia about illness or death.


Making radical changes in lifestyle, such as excluding one’s friends, family members, or activities associated with the lost loved one.


Experiencing unexplained periods of sadness, holiday blues, or "anniversary depression."


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sevenofwands
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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2009, 07:16:27 AM »

http://www.howtoremarry.com/widowers-remarriage.html
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sevenofwands
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2009, 06:05:12 PM »

http://www.cornerstonemag.com/features/iss111/nouwen.htm

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sevenofwands
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« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2009, 05:39:51 PM »

Heartwounds: The Impact of Unresolved Trauma and Grief on Relationships (Paperback)
by Tian Dayton Ph.D. (Author)

"Grief. We drag it forward for years, and it works itself out every chance - unless you know how process it, let it go, and move on. You can. ""

"Treat unresolved grief with understanding by looking at the whole picture and things will start looking up for all of us. "

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sevenofwands
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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2009, 09:21:25 AM »

This would, I hope, maybe be helpful to some members who post on the "Grief not related to death" section of this group.
The grief of a broken relationship is dreadful and mind-numbing.  Worse still is the grief for a "relationship" which was never any sych thing in the first place.

http://www.voicelessness.com/images/img0227.gif

Some excerpts from this excellent article by Dr. R. Grossman:

".......simply hurt over and over again.  Still, the "repetition compulsion" was true enough:  no sooner had a client ended with one particularly hurtful person then they found another wolf in sheep's clothing.  There had to be a good reason.  Here's what my clients have taught me over the years.

People who have not been given "voice" in childhood have the lifelong task of repairing the "self.""

"Giving up a destructive relationship is difficult.  The brief moments of validation are cherished, and the person who finally leaves must relinquish the hope of "earning" more.  When the person finally breaks free they are faced with an immediate and lasting feeling of emptiness and self-blame that makes them question their decision"
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sevenofwands
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2009, 09:06:07 AM »

"Now comes a study, however, that finds people who dwell excessively on negative emotions aroused by their loss are also at high risk for long-term depressions. On the other hand, people who are already recovered from a grief-related depression within a month following their loss do not tend to lapse into depression months later. "
This is an interesting, and I think, a helpful article.

http://news.stanford.edu/pr/94/940829Arc4145.html
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sevenofwands
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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2009, 02:20:55 PM »

I think this article is profound, compassionate and insightful.  Hopefully it will solace someone....

Function of a family

Ideally, a family has a function - that is, a job to do. A healthy family should create and sustain an environment which promotes emotional and physical health and psychological well-being for its members. To fulfill this function, families should know how to nurture, support, encourage, protect, teach, create boundaries and structure, and work together as a team.


The Functional Family

F ills its function
U understands everyone's purpose
N nurtures - everyone's needs are met
C communicates frequently and effectively
T teaches the children what they need to know
I intimacy is available
O open to new ideas
N never punishes by shaming or withholding love
A always seeks to understand each other
L LOVE IS MOST IMPORTANT (including sometimes tough love)
F fights fair
A assists each other (teamwork)
M makes each individual important
I in times of trouble, focuses on solving the problem, support
L lets each member be an individual
Y YOU have the power to be functional, no matter what anyone else is doing

. Often, parents have little or no training in how to establish a heathy relationship with each other, even before they begin to take on the enormous responsibility of raising children. These parents are products of their own parents' lack of information, and the cycle of ignorance and incompetence may go back many generations. Psychologists and psychotherapists know that family dysfunction is a problem with a long history. Families pass their habits, personality traits and traditions down, generation after generation. 

http://www.enotalone.com/article/4407.html
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