Freitag, 4. September 2009

Life Stress, Death and Psychological Coherence

My wife died August 23, 2009, after three years of cruel disease (ALS) - slow death, switch after switch of her life switched off. Now what? Her electric stair-case climbing chair is empty, and much more is terribly empty after 41 years of good marriage: Pls see the photo at the cemetry chapel.
Now what, Walter?
In the book "Fantastic Voyage - live long enough to live forever", the authors Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman cite a table of stress factors titled "Stressful Events and How They Rate":

I proudly own currently with the factors 'Death of a spouse' and 'Retirement' two of the main negative (killing) factors - and with Christmas I will get another one!

How to survive? fortunately, I understand at least rationally what to achieve and what to do: the psychological theory of Salutogenesis helps defining as goal (for feeling healthy resp. being healthy) the status of coherence and a 'sense of coherence' (SOC). Coherence in this sense of the sociologist Aaron Antonovsky means
  • Comprehensibility:
    The cognitive side - understanding the situation with underlying reasons and the naturality of the process (apart from all the contingencies of life and this "why she"?),
  • Manageability:
    Being able to work through all consequences - from administrative work to a rearrangement of life as far as possible,

  • Meaningfulness:
    Accepting some meaning and significance of continuing, e.g. re-finding some directions or detecting new meaning.

This Sense of Coherence is a key notion of the theory of "Salutogenesis".

Although a very, very large portion of human activities in politics, in religions and pseudoreligions and even around science is certainly desastrous, there remains hopefully enough trust in continuing, personally and in general! But this will probably become my 3rd book.

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