The Power of Suffering: Growing Through Life’s Crises

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It’s a fact of life that we’re all going to experience adversity and suffering in our lives. So many factors and events are outside of our control, and despite our best efforts to create the perfect life, tragedy still occurs. How does a person overcome personal adversity?

But, psychological research shows us that it is possible to grow from tragedy, rather the simply be consumed by it.  Going through difficult times filled with negative thoughts can affect your state of mind and degrade your mental health over the long term. But in the face of adversity successful people learn more from the tough times than when everything is going right. It is in dealing with adversity (and overcoming adversity) that we build the resilience for smaller problems and find our greatest personal development. In tragedy, we find a better day, life improves with challenges.

This week on the podcast we’re speaking with David Roland. David is a writer, presenter, and psychologist from Australia. For much of his career, he worked as a clinical and forensic psychologist, and on the outside, he had the perfect life.  

After experiencing PDSD, depression, and ultimately a stroke, David devoted this latter half of his career to helping people move through suffering and grow as a result of adversity.  

In this conversation, he offers some things for us to think about in terms of how we cope with trauma and tragedy and how we might ourselves grow when we’re faced with life’s challenges. Not only that, but he offers such empathetic and kind advice about how we can be a supportive companion to others who might be experiencing suffering, rather than the awkwardness and distance we so often feel compelled to feel when others are going through something difficult. 

Life will not always be perfect. We all will experience adversity in our lives, and it is absolutely critical that we develop skills for coping with it and growing as a result. You won’t want to miss this powerful episode.  

Learn more about David Roland and his books at . 

At the beginning of the episode, I mentioned a new quiz that we’ve recently released to see how you rank on 2 new factors that contribute to burn-out, overwhelm, and the feelings of guilt we tend to feel when we take time for ourselves. You deserve to feel calm, balanced, and supported in being your best self. The first step is the self-awareness of the factors that might be working against you. Head over to to see how you rank on these 2 new cutting-edge factors and get access to a set of tools to help you move through it. 


 How to Cope More Effectively With Adversity

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Think of a time when you faced something really difficult – a time when you had to cope with something. Get a clear picture of that time in your mind, and think about the emotions you experienced. 

Now let me ask you this: what was the approach you took for coping with that situation? 

Was your approach more pointed toward “making yourself feel better” by focusing on the emotions you were feeling? Or, did you focus more on the situation to try to change it or accept it? 

There are lots of personal experiences and adverse events that come in tough times and it’s how we cope with adversity that can be the difference between building resilience and feeling overwhelmed. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, high-stress levels or just generally negative thoughts, we become stronger when we overcome adversity and create better mental health. Much like other parts of life, we must build a mental immune system when dealing with adversity but this goes beyond deep breaths and meditation.

Today, we’re talking about 2 different types of coping that people use to move through adversity: emotion-focused coping and problem-focused or situation-focused coping. In the face of adversity we can spend time building long-term solutions rather than short-term fixes.

In this episode, not only do we unpack these 2 types of coping, but we dive into the nuance of what it means to cope in each way. Times when each type of coping works, and times when it doesn’t. 

Finally, we end with a couple of practical, straight-forward, yet very effective strategies you can use to support yourself when you’re going through something that is requiring all of your coping skills.  

We so hope you find value in this episode, and we’d love it if you would share it with someone else who might need support at this time.