Thinking About Adversity
- Overcoming adversity can seem daunting – but having a plan can make it feel achievable.
- Setting goals and breaking them into smaller steps is key.
- Kira Brazinski underwent a leg amputation at the age of eight, but overcame this to achieve something remarkable – climbing The Grand mountaintop.
Kira was born with Proximal femoral focal deficiency, or PFFD, which meant she did not have a femur bone or a knee. As a result, she’d walked with the aid of a prosthetic leg since she was a child. At the age of eight, Kira Brazinski underwent surgery to have her left leg amputated.Read More
Kira took up yoga, which helped her regain her active lifestyle in a way that didn’t cause pain. “Yoga never felt debilitating,” she says. “It was an eye opening experience physically and as I practiced more, it became something that meant even more to me mentally.”
Charlene Lim, star of the film Flourish, says, “What you don’t realize when you start [yoga] that it completely mentally changes you as well.”
Through yoga, Kira began to feel more confident and in control of her body. As she regained her strength, Kira thought back to Grand Teton – and wondered if she could climb it after all.
Adversity is a hardship or misfortune that can occur in anyone’s life – it might be temporary, like being laid off from work, or permanent, like Kira’s amputation. Nobody chooses to have adverse circumstances, but that doesn’t mean you cannot find ways to overcome them.
Make Meaningful Change
Overcoming adversity can seem daunting. Many people think reciting upbeat mottos or pretending to be cheerful will help, but these solutions can make someone feel even more dejected than before. Instead, focus on the following steps to make meaningful change.
1. Set a goal. No matter what the situation, create a new goal for yourself. If you have just been diagnosed with cancer or a chronic illness, perhaps one goal would be to educate yourself about the disease and the possible treatments as much as possible.
2. Make a plan. How will you achieve this goal? Your plan will help you focus on that goal. Dr. Siddhartha Ganguly refers to this determined, focused mindset as “the eye of the tiger,” which can help people dealing with health problems, such as lymphoma and other cancers. “You have to have the eye of the tiger to go through this grueling process that is necessary these days to get rid of these virulent and aggressive cancers,” Dr. Ganguly, a cancer specialist at Houston Methodist, told SurvivorNet.
3. Rely on others. Spend time with people who show you unconditional support and encouragement. They will ease your stress and help you remember that you’re not alone in this! Dr. Samantha Boardman, a psychiatrist and author, tells SurvivorNet that one “coping strategy that can be productive is reaching out, talking to others. Having support we know is really critical in the healing process.”
4. Use positive self-talk. Leave messages with affirmations in places you frequent. Put notes around your mirror or your computer screen that say “You got this!” or “Keep going!” Cut out inspirational quotes from people you admire and surround yourself with their words. Dr. Boardman explains to SurvivorNet that “Positive emotions have unique benefits above and beyond managing negative emotions.”
Kira Brazinski once wondered if she would ever regain her active lifestyle. And yet, she did successfully climb The Grand — now, she is an adaptive athlete and yogi who inspires people to achieve their best.
Stream A Grand Journey, and other films about people who take on challenges without fear, on SurvivorNetTV.