Thriving in Times of Crisis

“We thrive not when we’ve done it all, but when we still have more to do.”

Sarah Lewis 

This year has brought on many surprising challenges. Between COVID, economic hardships, and racial tension, many have been negatively impacted by the shift in our cultural norms.

I was reading an article in “Counseling Today” written by Lennis G. Echterling, that focused on how he as a therapist persevered through a personal hardship he encountered. While relevant to counselors, I also found a few of his ideas to be beneficial to people in general, as most of us have experienced some form of crisis, especially in today’s world.

In one section of his article, the writer focused on four principles of thriving. At its core, thriving is simply flourishing. Oxford defines thriving as “growing or developing well”. Some may wonder how crisis and thriving fit into the same category, but when you apply the principles given in the article, it’s easy to see how. 

The first principle of thriving, according to the writer, is to be resilient.

I’ve talked about resilience in a previous blog, where I highlighted what it means to be resilient and why it’s important. Resilience is an important quality that tends to be highlighted most in the face of adversity. Although many prefer to avoid difficulties, what they fail to realize is that both positive and negative experiences are necessary. When in crisis, it’s our ability to push ourselves despite our circumstances that forms us into stronger people.

The second principle is remembering that you’re not alone.

When you think about the most successful people in the world, there is always a team behind the scenes. We need the support, encouragement, and even the challenge of others in order to thrive well. Recognizing and connecting with your support team is essential for success. 

The third principle involves remaining committed to learning throughout your life.

As a former teacher, I truly believe that we as people should be lifelong learners. No one person has all of the answers, but when you put several minds together you can have a powerhouse. This is especially important when thinking about crisis, as we tend to resort to coping skills and strategies that have worked for us in the past, regardless of their overall effectiveness. Being open to new ideas and perspectives can help you learn different ways to cope and push through difficult situations.

The last principle for thriving is to make the journey your destination.

This was probably my favorite line in the article. It can be so easy to focus on where we want to be, that we miss the beauty of the journey. While trials can be overwhelming, when we change our perspective we can sometimes change our experience.

It may not always be easy, but if you take the principles to heart and actually implement them, you may just find yourself thriving more than you ever thought you could.  

Written by: Salima Hart