What are the 3 challenges in life
Accept life's challenges
A loved one dies, an accident suddenly changes all life plans, a disease like diabetes becomes a challenging, lifelong companion. And now?
Different types of coping
Most people face difficult or threatening situations at some point in their life. People cope with these challenges very differently: Some suffer so much from the stressful events that they lose their inner balance and can no longer find it for a long time. Yes, sometimes what you have suffered overshadows your life permanently. Others cope well with the stroke of fate in the short term, but later show clear traces and negative effects of the event.
And then there are people who are miraculously immune to the fateful challenges of life: Although their living conditions are often not easy, they never lose the ground under their feet, they stay mentally and physically healthy. These people mostly do not feel like victims of fate and do not have the impression that they have little or no control over what happens to them.
Their attitude is more like: "Whatever comes my way, I can deal with it and I will find a solution. I can do something to deal with the crisis or failure." Researchers are increasingly interested in people who do not break under special stress, but even grow from it.
“Resilience” is the magic word
As Resilience this is the name given to this mental resilience. It is something like a functioning immune system of the soul. The term comes originally Resilience from building science and describes building materials that, despite deformation or other aggregate states, always return to their original state. Like a stand-up man who can always take his upright posture. Or like a football that deforms significantly when it is headed or shot, but then quickly becomes round again.
Research is increasingly concerned with the question: What distinguishes resilient people from others? Why do some survive the most violent storms of life while others break because of it? Did you bathe in dragon blood like Siegfried? Is it a coincidence or can resilience be trained? There are now answers from many research results.
Diabetes is also a challenge
Diabetes is also a challenge that you have to grapple with for a lifetime. Those who ignore diabetes or deal poorly with the disease may pay a high price - albeit later. In my everyday practice, I encounter the following: While diabetes is a serious burden for some, others deal with the disease very naturally and confidently. One could almost think that they grow inwardly to deal well with this challenge of life.
The most important findings of resilience research are therefore very relevant for dealing with diabetes. Above all, because people are not born with many or a few resilient characteristics, but resilience can in principle be learned.
Resilience can be learned
It is true that people have an advantage who, through appropriate upbringing, positive experiences and support in childhood, were able to develop a kind of psychological resistance from an early age; but above all, resilience is an attitude towards oneself and the world.
The writer has this strikingly Robert Stevenson expressed:
"Life is not just about having good cards, it's also about making a good game with a bad hand."
Confidence in your own abilities
Which resilience factors have proven to be particularly important? In childhood, resilient people have at least one close emotional relationship with a caregiver who gives them security and reliability; as Nelson Mandelawho got solid roots for life through his parents' house, but also through his adoptive father (a tribal prince).
Through them he was accepted and respected and was able to develop a healthy self-esteem. For him they were role models who set an example for him not to avoid problems and conflicts, but to approach them positively.
In his autobiography, he writes how he managed to survive 27 years in prison without being a broken man afterwards:
"I have learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but triumph over it. The courageous man is not one who is not afraid, but one who conquers fear."
And in 1975 he wrote:
"Difficulties break some people, and others make them healthy people."
Parents who give children with diabetes the feeling of being loved and accepted, convey to them that problems can be solved and support them in developing self-confidence in their own abilities, are sure to lay a very important foundation for a lifelong good handling of them Diabetes.
Good social contacts, able to accept help
Good relationships with family members, friends, or other people are an important buffer against stress. As the saying goes "Shared pain is half of the pain". The latest research from the international DAWN study shows that the family is the most important source of support for people with diabetes.
However, being integrated into a stable social network is not something that falls from the sky. You have to make an active effort, you have to maintain contacts and also have the ability to ask other people for help. Resilient people seem to find this easier than other people.
Next page: confront yourself with your own negative feelings and focus on solutions +++ take other perspectives or points of view +++ to measure: take care of yourself
Confront your own negative feelings
Resilient people do not evade the pain or other negative feelings associated with a major crisis or challenge. They realize that they are in crisis and that something in life has changed significantly. And they use fear and the feeling of uncertainty as an important indicator of the extent of the threat and the need to develop appropriate strategies against it.
As Nelson Mandela described it, actively coping with difficult life situations requires confronting one's own negative feelings: in order to become courageous, to conquer fear and to get out of the role of victim.
In my experience, people with diabetes who do not face the challenges of diabetes, turn a blind eye to it or play it down, have a much harder time coping with diabetes. Feelings are an important prerequisite for change and show you the direction in life like a kind of compass. However, you have to be aware of them - also with regard to diabetes.
Focus on solving problems
People with a low level of resilience often see themselves as victims and therefore feel helpless and powerless. Resilient people, on the other hand, take the initiative in difficult situations. They do not allow themselves to be paralyzed by what is happening, but take responsibility for their lives and actions.
Difficult life situations are less stressful if you believe that you can control them. The conviction that you can positively influence your own life despite diabetes, that you are not a puppet of diabetes, is an important characteristic of resilience.
Just as important: to take a look at what is possible in life despite diabetes and to try to strive for this. Those who do not lose hope that the future has something positive in store for them will not be depressed by a currently difficult present.
Take other perspectives or points of view
Especially in a crisis, the ability to perceive other perspectives or points of view is limited. This often makes it more difficult to adapt or cope with the difficult life situation. Resilient people are much more able to react flexibly to new situations, to change their own behavior and to expand the existing concept of life accordingly.
This is why it is so important to attend a training course immediately after the onset of diabetes - in order to learn relatively quickly that there are different ways of dealing with diabetes. It is so important to share with other people with diabetes to see how others think and act in the same situation. And therefore it is also important to pause again and again to determine whether the previous approach to diabetes is still appropriate or should be adjusted or changed.
Flexible thinking and the ability to look at certain things through the eyes of others are recipes for success for resilient people.
Important: Above all, take care of yourself
As important as it is to actively manage a crisis, to consistently take care of a disease such as diabetes, it is also important to keep looking for sources of strength and recharging your batteries. You gain inner strength through a good balance between tension and relaxation. Especially in times of calm and relaxation, you often get the best ideas and important impulses for change.
Taking care of yourself is not self-interest, but an important prerequisite for inner balance. Everyone has probably already made the experience that dealing with diabetes on a day-to-day basis is much easier if you do not feel tense and stressed, but inwardly balanced.
The therapy of diabetes costs strength. Therefore you should make sure that you have enough energy for it. Good is the advice of Baloo from the jungle book:
Give it a try with comfort, with peace and comfort you dispel all your troublesome stuff (...) Because with comfort, happiness comes to you too! It comes to you!
Cannot be learned overnight
Resilience cannot be learned overnight, no question about it. It's a way of life - some also say a philosophy of life. Like the writer Albert Camuswho wrote:
"In the middle of winter I learned that there was an invincible summer inside of me."
I hope this article inspires you to think at least briefly about how you have dealt with diabetes so far: How much resilience are you? How successfully did you deal with your illness? How flexible are you? How well do you take care of yourself, your family or friends? Question after question ... which only you can know the answer to.
by PD Dr. Bernhard Kulzer
Psychological psychotherapist, specialist diabetes psychologist, Diabetes Center Mergentheim
Email: [email protected]
Published in: Diabetes Journal, 2014; 63 (7) pages 18-21
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