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Is it Possible to Grow from Difficult Experiences?

As COVID-19 continues to sweep our country, another crisis continues to grow. Many individuals are either continuing to battle mental health struggles or fighting this battle for the first time. Rates of anxiety and depression have increased tremendously from the current circumstances. Whether we’ve lost a loved one, have been isolated from friends and family, or are experiencing the economic impacts of this pandemic, we’ve all been impacted in some capacity. People have begun looking for answers in self-help books, articles, products, and apps. The urge to indulge unhealth coping mechanisms has increased. What this tells me is people are feeling badly, BUT, they want to feel better! While it’s easy to give in to feelings of fear, sadness and hopelessness, I encourage you to consider a different response. What if there was a way to grow and learn from the hard times we’re experiencing? What if we could find a way to pull some positives out of the negatives that seem to keep on coming? Choosing this approach is no doubt the more difficult option. However, it is the approach that will allow us to keep moving forward until Coronavirus is under control and life returns to the new normal. Below are a few steps to begin to grow from the difficult experiences we’re having. I encourage you to tackle these approaches with a friend or loved one. “Studies have shown that one of the best ways to overcome the anxiety that accompanies pain and suffering is to connect with others. Don’t go it alone.”

While we can’t ignore the negativity around pain and suffering, these emotions/experiences typically provide clarity for us. Many of our minds move at a rapid pace, overthinking and ruminating on chaotic thoughts. Pain and suffering can clear out or minds to give us the opportunity to think about how and why a situation occurred. While the pain of the circumstance cannot be ignored, it can shift our view and motivate us to change our ways. Considering there may be a benefit from what you’re going through or meaning to draw from it can provide hope in a seemingly hopeless experience. Simply being open to the possibility that something positive could come out of it can give you the motivation to keep moving forward and through. This can be a very empowering experience.

Pain and suffering opens the opportunity to come face to face with endurance and resilience. “The key to growing from your pain and suffering is learning how to leverage your negative feelings.” By facing our negative emotions head on, we’re able to trace their roots and uncover what caused them to appear in the first place. By doing this, we allow ourselves to begin moving through the feelings and changing behaviors or circumstances that may have led to them in the first place. 

When we experience difficult times it’s common to begin questioning things such as purpose and meaning. This is a great opportunity to begin truly identifying your values, what matters most in life. Cultivating good values lead us to a life of joy and fulfillment. They also make up our character which reveals itself in difficult times. “Good values are achieved internally; bad values rely on external circumstances.” Taking the time to look inward when things are difficult externally can make all the difference.  

It’s no secret times are tough right now. Relying on friends, family and loved ones, while taking the time to look inward can allow us all to learn and grow from this trying experience. 

If you’ve found yourself struggling to maintain mental health stability throughout the current circumstances, it may be useful to try counseling. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to schedule an appointment with one of our very skilled therapists today! We offer in-person and online counseling in Chicago to support you.

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