Now when a traumatic event happens, we automatically perform our coping strategies-possibly the good ones, the bad ones or both. The bad kind of coping strategies are called maladaptive coping strategies. Why? This is so because healthy adaptation is the key to survival after encountering a traumatic event like fires, sudden deaths and terrorist activities.
So what is healthy adaptation? Healthy adaptation is an integrated action-you somewhat reorganize “being” and “purpose” into your life. Okay, what does that mean? That means after the trauma, you sort of go through an evaluation phase. You evaluate or assess your attitudes about what you are, who you are and what is the purpose of your being. What does this have to do with traumatic events?
Well, traumatic events can be life altering, aside from usually putting you in shock. In a manner of speaking, your life can be “shocked” to an apparently unstoppable process of self-questioning. Suddenly, you find yourself asking-maybe “Why me?” Perhaps, you begin to think about whether your life has meaning, or does it have a greater purpose than what you knew before, or believed before the traumatic event occurred.
The maladaptive coping strategies are mal-adaptive, that is, they just help you try to adapt healthily without really succeeding. How? They can simply make you feel unaware that the event happened. Or perhaps, they can give you the feeling of having achieved something after the event happened. But take note, these are just feelings-they do not have objective reality. You simply lie to yourself if you choose to use these kinds of strategies.
So how does one adapt healthily? You begin with positive action-communication, honesty and helping your neighbor basically. It starts with a realization that a person is never alone in this world. Perhaps your faith can help you get back or reintegrate within yourself the belief for a higher purpose. This is important because so-called “practical” living may no longer be enough to give the answers of daily life.
Now, you might find yourself “changed” after healthy adaptation, or maybe, just a bit more realistic about life in general. Whether you do get to the point of having changed or not, the most important is that you have healthily gotten back to living whatever life is still yet for you to live. We need to be realistic but that does not mean our purpose in life is gone.