March 2022 marks two years since the first lockdown was announced in the UK, and what an unprecedented time it has been. As we attempt to heal from the pandemic - while coming to terms with the global unrest and the sense of helplessness that so many of us are feeling - now is a good time to pause and reflect on how much we have learned, how we can keep striving forwards and continue to evolve as the spring and summer months unfold. In this month's newsletter we will be looking at PTSD following the pandemic, but more importantly, PTG - Post Traumatic Growth - and how we use this to harness our positivity. We will find out how we can let go of our regrets, and highlight the benefits of self reflection as we adapt to a changed world. If you would like help with ensuring your employees can focus on wellbeing this year by introducing a workplace wellbeing programme tailored to your needs, then please contact us today to discuss how The Performance Club can become part of that journey.
Live Growth after trauma You may have heard of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. It’s a mental health condition that arises after a traumatic event, often characterised by flashbacks, severe anxiety, and disturbing thoughts. Inevitably, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the traumatic experiences which can lead to this condition.
Fewer people are likely to have heard of post-traumatic growth. While trauma can invoke a terrifying and debilitating response, in some cases it can be a catalyst for positive changes. In the best cases, it may even spark growth, strength, and resilience. Post-traumatic growth happens when you’re able to transform trauma and use adversity to your advantage.
A recent study published in the Journal of Psychiatry discovered that 88% of the survey’s respondents said that they’d experienced positive effects from challenging pandemic circumstances. In particular, respondents noted positive improvements in family relationships and reported a greater appreciation for life.
A person who already approaches life with an optimistic outlook is more likely to benefit from PTG after experiencing a major challenge. And those who are used to coping with adversity will likely be able to do so again and again. This article on cognitive restructuring explores the topic in more detail.
Learn How to let go of regret Regret is a powerful, often all-consuming force. But the comforting truth is that it affects every person in this world. Wishing you hadn’t done or said - or that you had done or had said - something is a natural part of the human condition. For young people in particular, regret, although painful to experience, can be a helpful emotion; the pain of regret can result in refocusing and taking corrective action or pursuing a new path. However, the less opportunity one has to change the situation, the more likely it is that regret can turn into rumination and trigger chronic stress that damages mind and body. The key to dealing with regret (and being able to move on from it) often lies in self-compassion. Journaling or talking to a trusted friend or relative can often help to eradicate the sense of guilt or isolation that you may feel as a result of your regret. Sharing your feelings can allow people to frame the action they regret in a more positive way while gaining a different perspective. You can learn more by reading 9 Tips on Letting Go of Regret from Professor Neal Rose Ph.D., and The 3-Step Process To Transform Your Regret Into A Positive Force, brought to us by Forbes.
Play The art of self reflection
As we reflect back over the past two years, we may realise that we have all fluctuated through the five stages of grief to some degree - denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and eventually (hopefully), acceptance. But as we strive to move forward, there’s one more emotional task that experts recommend, and that's finding meaning through self reflection.
Self-reflection is the key to self-awareness. It allows us to look neutrally at our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions. Through this practice, we are able to look at ourselves with newfound interest and curiosity. As we begin to dig deeper, we may question our very being, asking, 'Why do I feel this way?'
Being able to answer this question is an essential skill for personal growth, and can lead to enhanced positivity, happiness and productivity. If you have ever had an emotional response to something or blurted out words that you later regretted, you can see how self-reflection might assist you in choosing more healthy responses and changing behaviours (even thoughts) that aren’t working well for you. But there is a word of caution here: if self-reflection becomes obsessive, it can turn into self-judgment. So as always, reflect with self-compassion and kindness.
To find out more you can read the Top 11 Benefits of Self-Awareness According to Science, brought to us by PositivePsychology.com, and find out How Self Reflection Gives You a Happier & More Successful Life from Lifehack.
Pause Our book of the month is Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear Author James Clear says that all our habits follow a 4-Step Habit Loop which includes: cue, craving, response and reward. He explains practical techniques to "hack" each step so we can achieve lasting personal change. Atomic Habits is a valuable primer on forming the right habits, and ditching the bad ones. One habit at a time, you can improve your results in business and life. By losing unproductive habits and establishing productive ones, you make the little differences that add up to big success. Every so often a book comes along in this genre that actually delivers what it promises and provides immense value to its readers - this is one of those books - so if you want to build upon your existing habits or eradicate old ones, this is highly recommended. Happy reading!
The pandemic has given each of us an extraordinary and unparalleled encounter with uncertainty and novelty - and although we wouldn't have necessarily chosen what we've experienced during the course of the past two years, it does give us the opportunity to ask: What have we learned about ourselves?
No matter what you've experienced from a psychological point of view, give yourself time to regain your equilibrium. It's understandable that everyone wants to get back to some kind of 'normal' - but we have all been changed permanently by this experience, whether we are aware of it or not. The forced contemplative period of the pandemic (and the sheer strangeness of what we've been through) may have revealed what's most important to you. If it did, don't let that knowledge go. Do whatever you can to design the time and space in your post-pandemic life to match those priorities.
If you'd like to find our how The Performance Club can work with your organisation to enhance wellbeing and productivity in 2022 then please get in touch with our friendly team. We can tailor training and coaching packages to meet your individual needs with a unique emphasis on performance. Best wishes, Stacy Thomson Founder of The Performance Club sent on behalf of all of the team