Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Weekly Discussion Summary ~ Can we use adversity to grow in 'positive' ways?

I want to see the sunshine after the rain...

So sang Elkie Brooks, and so sing our members, answering the question we posed for this week's discussion: can we use adversity to grow in 'positive' ways?

Trending research shows that resilience ppcan be built following trauma, and that this in turn can lead to positive change. Our members' experiences confirmed that the answer to the question is a resounding yes. Many reported leading more colourful, appreciative and intense lives post-diagnosis, highlighting the extremes experienced as ups and downs, highs and lows, the yin and yang of joy and suffering.

The body is hard-wired to heal and the brain has compensatory mechanisms to deal with mental fragility.  Practising self-care, taking care of our emotional as well as our physical needs, alongside self knowledge and awareness, has helped many women to grow beyond and because of their experience of breast cancer. We have members with both primary and secondary diagnoses, and many in both categories report finding a renewed passion for living, putting themselves first but without compromising their kind and caring sides.  There is a sense of no time to waste, which for some means cherishing a quieter simpler life, and for others being adventurous  and packing in lots of activity.

Many have left stale or stressful jobs, finding new careers which are more satisfying, with some giving up work altogether.  Some have moved to new homes and/or new locations. Many have taken up new hobbies, found a creative passion, or pursued a more healthy and active lifestyle.  Friendships have evolved, with those who haven't stuck with us getting left behind, and new friendships, often made with other women with a similar diagnosis, have blossomed. Families may become closer, old hurts discarded in favour of more nurturing relationships.

Life is too short to sweat the small stuff; a saying I'm sure you've all heard, but for us it's true. Little things are what we appreciate: our morning coffee, the sunset, nature. Little niggles we can let go of, realising they don't matter.  Even when it's raining, we look for rainbows and our clouds are filled with silver linings.

With thanks to Jane for this wonderful photo.

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