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Wellness

Why You Lose More Than You Get

As it turns out, there are actually more ways to lose than get things. In this blog, I talk about some of this lesser-known research and also explore the importance of positive thinking in achieving one’s goals.

In 2004, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published a study that examined the effect of negative life events on recovery from injury. They found that those who had suffered “a serious incident of interpersonal violence, such as a homicide or rape” had “a 2 to 4-fold reduction in time to the first full recuperation period compared to their peers who had experienced other adversities unrelated to injury.”

These results were not entirely surprising, as other studies have shown that psychological and physical barriers to recovery are very similar. In fact, a study from 2012 in the International Journal of Rehabilitation Management found that the same psychological hurdles people experience when suffering from injuries, such as fear of returning to a stressful situation, can actually hinder their recovery.

According to the study, for nearly 40% of the participants, their fear of coming back to their previous location resulted in a “proportionally higher reduction in full recovery time due to PTSD among those individuals when compared with their peers who did not have fear of returning to their previous location.”

As Dr. Paul Gershoff, founder of the Life Recovery Clinic in Phoenix, AZ, states, “You can’t get past fear; it has to be transformed into compassion.” And this is exactly what compassion is: the state of being kind toward yourself, to others, and in all situations.

In the aftermath of a personal tragedy, it’s sometimes hard to think of yourself as a survivor. In truth, life only really ended ten minutes ago, so why would it matter how badly it went for you? But, if you think of yourself as more than just a statistic, your attitude will improve. It has been found that thinking about your past positively positively impacts your mental health . . . to the point where you actually think you feel more positive even on days when you really are feeling negative.

If you suffer from stress and emotional pain, you can be sure that this is not a matter of the past. If you struggle with anxiety, you can also know that you’re not alone. According to a survey conducted by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, “anxiety disorders are among the top 10 leading causes of disability in the US with a prevalence of 8 percent of the general population and 18 percent of college students.”

The good news is that there are a variety of proven stress strategies to help you feel more positively and that may provide some relief from your symptoms and even help you in your recovery. Here are some of the most helpful:

* Remember that the people who hurt you will never be able to forgive you or forget your pain. Forgiving yourself and learning to let it go will help you get through your ordeal.

* If you’re depressed or suffering from some other anxiety or depressive symptom such as difficulty concentrating , being easily startled, or having trouble sleeping, try meditating . Meditation has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety .

* Exercise can help improve your mood, relieve your stress, and can also help you learn new skills and improve your health. 

* If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of chronic stress — like being anxious and easily fatigued — a daily exercise routine is a great way to combat this issue. If you have insomnia, exercise can put you to sleep; if you have trouble falling asleep, exercise can provide you with a more restful night’s rest. 

* It is important to try to understand how your life has changed in terms of what matters to you in the midst of tragedy (e.g.