Trauma can bring about a tremendous amount of growth in your life, if you're willing to embrace it. While many people want to focus on its negative impact and the symptoms of PTSD there is such a thing as Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). This is the psychological benefits a person can experience when choosing to grow through their PTSD. It can happen in 5 main areas:
- Opening yourself to new possibilities that you hadn't thought of or considered in the past
- Experiencing deeper relationships
- Taking note of your own strength and resilience
- Having a greater appreciation of life overall
- Deepening your spiritual beliefs
Who's More Likely to Experience PTG
Women tend to experience PTG more than men, but there are also many other factors that go into determining who'll experience PTG, including the person's:
- Definition of growth
- Openness to experience growth
- Inclination towards being extroverted (possibly because the person is more active in response to their trauma since they're connected to other people)
- Age (with people in late adolescence and early adulthood being more open)
- Genetics (whether a person is predisposed to things like panic disorder and anxiety)
Strategies to Encourage PTG
There are some strategies that psychologists have discovered are especially helpful here, including:
- Mindfulness has been shown to change your brain for the better by shrinking the amygdala (the fear center) which typically becomes enlarged after a trauma, resulting in flashbacks, anxiety, and panic.
- You can't suffer in silence, you must acknowledge your wounds and be vulnerable to them. This includes communicating openly about it, admitting your fears, and getting professional help.
- It's important to have a trauma-informed therapist help you experience self-compassion and loving kindness instead. Only then will you be able to reconnect with the part of your self that's been wounded.
- You need to make meaning from reflecting on your trauma. This is because when you have a reason to live you can find the "how."
- Maintaining a gratitude journal will help you feel more satisfied, optimistic, and content with your life. You'll also have more energy, be in a better mood, and sleep better.
- Taking a holistic approach to your trauma (including goal setting, energy management, problem solving, and assertive communication) will make you more robust and help you be better able to cope more effectively with the problems in your life. This is because you'll have the tools you need to maintain strong relationships.
- Remember you're not alone. You need to find yourself a good support system - one that doesn't gloss over your wounds, but encourages you to focus on your strengths.
There really are a lot of ways to help yourself when it comes to PTG. While it'll take some effort, it'll be worth it to take these steps to find meaning in your trauma.
Love this post. Being able to acknowledge trauma is often the hardest step when you are healing.ReplyDelete
Yes, it's definitely something that a lot of people get stuck on.Delete
Great read. Genetics is definitely part of mental illness and trauma.ReplyDelete
I agree that genetics plays a huge role in mental illness but respectively disagree when it comes to trauma.Delete
This is such great informational post! Didn’t even know about PTG. Love the idea of possibilities, relationships and new strangers.ReplyDelete
So many people don't know about PTG and many other facets of PTSD. I hope I can continue shedding light on these things.Delete
Awesome. I love that you can take any situation and learn from it. Even a traumatic event. Thanks for changing my view of trauma. And thanks for the list of PTG strategies.ReplyDelete
Yes, anything can be a learning and growing experience - even trauma.Delete
Embracing our issues and obstacles always leads to growth and building inner strength. It's definitely a way to go. Thanks for sharingReplyDelete
Some people tend to overlook this when it comes to trauma but it's so true.Delete
This is such a good read, I think so many suffer from trama's and repress them, when really they rip off the bandage and own them to heal, or at least I have that is true in my case, it makes you stronger.ReplyDelete
It takes courage to truly heal from trauma. I'm glad you've had that courage.Delete
I've never heard of PTG, but it's an interesting perspective for sure. I like that you recommend a trauma-focused therapist. It's so important to find a professional you trust in cases of trauma.ReplyDelete
Yes, I've definitely found there to be a world of difference between regular therapists and those who are trauma-based.Delete