A recent headline caught my eye. “How Trauma Can Become A Catalyst For Personal Growth.”
The subject of trauma seems to be trending these days. Or maybe I’m noticing it more now because I’ve been cursed by a series of calamities.
Starting in 2020, I’ve watched my mother die, my daughter suffer a painful illness, my best friend’s cancer return, and my 12th surgery in less than 3 years. All during the pandemic! My struggles with anxiety, insomnia, anger, grief, and fear are classic symptoms of PTSD.
Post Traumatic Growth, describes what happens when people who struggle psychologically after adversity in time come to experience positive, transformative changes in their mind-set and behavior.
In other words, the pain of trauma can pave the way to a better life. In fact, thanks to this article, I realized my trauma has indeed given me many gifts. I just hadn’t noticed.
I’ve been enjoying my work more, gaining greater compassion for clients. I’ve intensified my study of A Course in Miracles, feeling drawn to teach it. I’ve grown even closer with my husband. I’ve upped my philanthropy along with mentoring several women pro-bono. And despite the anxiety, my life feels more meaningful.
Here are 5 ways to stimulate Post Traumatic Growth:
- Connect closely with others through support groups, family gatherings, and hanging out with compassionate friends. Social engagement is key to positive recovery.
- Talk about your fear and suffering with people who are good listeners, whether friends, family or mental health professionals. In time, you’ll notice your focus shifting toward a more positive narrative.
- Engage in self-care activities like yoga and slow, deep breathing, which ease anxiety and increases feelings of safety.
- Find ways to make an impact, which usually involves being of service to others.
- Ask yourself the question: “How can I learn and move on from this?” This helps create “emotional distance” from the trauma, seeing it doesn’t need to define you.
Learning about PTG has shown me that on the other side of pain, a more gratifying life awaits. Perhaps Nietzche said it best: What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!
Can you think of ways to reframe your trauma to make your life better? Leave me a comment below.