Henry David Thoreau, philosopher of post-traumatic growth

In Ghana, I see poverty — and resilience

I am awakened by a crowing rooster like clockwork around 3:30 a.m. By morning birds whose songs rise with the cacophony that surrounds my new home away from home.

A rumbling heavy motor cracks dawn. Neighborhood dogs bark and howl. Big black-and-white birds flap above the coconut trees.

“I see a people resilient. I see it in the eyes of taxi drivers, in the faces of women — and men— at innumerable makeshift shops of tin and wood that line roadways and are an economic lifeline.”

John W Fountain, a Fulbright Scholar, is a tenured full professor at Roosevelt University

Already the doors of a nearby merchant’s shop are open. Human voices, adults and children’s, rise, greeting the early morning light.

Context is everything. And my American eyes, though having laid sight on Ghana before, see her more intimately now. As a resident rather than tourist, even if my visa is time-stamped and my departure from this land set.

I see poverty here, though only in substance. Hardship — devoid of a social safety net —which requires self-reliance and sweat equity, for a return that is often beneath subsistence…READ ON

Henry David Thoreau, philosopher of post-traumatic growth

Stepping to the beat of a different drum, simple living, appreciation of Nature, civil disobedience—these are themes often associated with nineteenth-century American writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau. We don’t usually associate Thoreau with the theme of trauma. But he does have important insights on the topic. Thoreau’s masterpiece Walden, in fact, can be read as a manual for post-traumatic growth (i.e., personal growth in the wake of traumatic experiences).

“Thoreau’s PTSD and Posttraumatic Growth,” an article that I co-authored with Michael Sperber, MD, appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of the Thoreau Society Bulletin. This post summarizes some of the main points in the article…READ ON

How to build “cultural resilience” that prioritizes employees’ mental health

Employers are increasingly more involved in decisions around personal and professional fulfillment, and not always in a positive way. The “Great Resignation” demonstrated that millions of Americans often think about changing jobs or careers to reach personal goals. That means employers must reexamine ways their organizations can provide the right balance of role, work environment, and culture fit to attract and retain employees.

With a record 4.4 million people quitting through September 2021, it’s become a business imperative for organizations to develop “cultural resilience” that will help foster better overall mental health.

With more than 10 million job openings available, employees have choices—lots of them. A primary consideration many face are unique challenges mitigating risk to themselves and their family members due to the pandemic. Others experience pressure on mental health from excessive stress to anxiety to depression, and some struggle with substance abuse or other addiction challenges…READ ON

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