Some professionals think trauma can actually be, well, good for us. Enter ‘post-traumatic growth’, something that describes the idea that some people not only recover from adversity, but in some ways, become better for it.
A kind of flip-side to PTSD, the theory is that trauma can be the catalyst for positive change, typically in five areas: appreciation for life, relationships with others, recognition of new possibilities, personal strength, and spiritual change.
“It’s not ‘what’s wrong with you?’ but ‘what happened to you?’, and what opportunity is there to use that."
Of course, nobody is suggesting you should seek out trauma in order to experience PTG. Still, the idea is re-working how some professionals look at stress and our ability to use it for good. To not just ‘bounce back’, but ‘bounce forward’. It’s not ‘what’s wrong with you?’ but ‘what happened to you?’, and what opportunity is there to use that to propel the individual into another phase of life, to work out who they’re going to be in the aftermath of the trauma.
I’ve had to deal with many trauma’s in my life and for the most part I have found ways to grow and even thrive from them. Right now, I have two dear friends dealing with big traumatic challenges. There’s an opportunity to thrive after trauma if you do the right things. It’s just about the right training. And people, after all, are the sum of their training.
“You got this boys, you are both well trained and if you faulter I’ve got you” ~ emmanuel
Granted, not everyone experiences post-traumatic growth. “It’s not inevitable,” But we should be looking to facilitate something that can be a naturally occurring event in the right conditions. To facilitate your own post-traumatic growth, here are a few strategies you can practice.
5 Ways To Turn Trauma Into Growth
Take your time. Recovery from trauma cannot be hurried. Acknowledge that you need to accept what has happened or grieve for what has been lost, which could take many months.
Be kind to yourself. Practice self-care through techniques such as mindfulness or journaling to help move on from the feelings of blame and guilt that often follow a traumatic experience.
Practice gratitude. Some perspective, optimism and contentment can be gained by taking time to focus on things you feel grateful for, however small.
Act outwardly. As tempting as retreating from the world may be, engaging with it is more beneficial. Talk to people. Help others.
Get support. Some people are more naturally resilient than others, but even then, taking positive gains from trauma can rarely be done alone. Find and accept encouraging and, where necessary, professional support.