Post-Traumatic Growth

Most of us have heard about the negative “post-traumatic stress”, but “post-traumatic growth” is being studied by Lawrence Calhoun, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina.

Post-traumatic growth focuses on the positive shifts that can occur in a person after trauma.  Research has proven that victims and grievers experience at least one aspect of post-traumatic growth.  They find a greater appreciation of life, a sense of inner strength or an understanding of new possibilities.

Growth doesn’t erase your pain, but it can lead to a faster healing of your broken heart.  Growth is necessary because without it how can you discover who you are.

Think about post-traumatic growth as thriving beyond where you were even before your suffering.  It’s learning to achieve joy and an awareness of life’s blessings.

To be successful in your growth you have to identify lifestyle factors that will help:

  1. Individual spirituality – a belief in a positive force.
  2. Social Support – surround yourself with people who care.
  3. Accept what you can and can’t change.
  4. Be willing to take one step forward daily.

The death of your loved one has changed your life, but the struggle is what determines whether the changes going forward will help you grow or not.

Just because your outer world is chaotic doesn’t mean that your inner world has to be.  You are capable of rising above the turmoil.  Be aware of your thoughts, “I can’t do this or I’m not good enough” are untruths because you can do what needs to be done, or at least seek out the help that you need.

You are also “good enough”.  In fact, I believe that it helps to repeat, “I am enough” whenever you have self-doubts.

If you fail, you don’t need self-recrimination, self-blame or anger.  Instead you need to grow from it and be willing to recommit, to be whole hearted in your desire to not give up.

Post-traumatic growth can free us to see more clearly that we have the power to create our new lives from the inside out.  Sometimes in life we just do the best that we can and then we have to trust in what we have created as we watch it unfold.

“When we align our thoughts, emotions, and actions with the highest part of ourselves, we are filled with enthusiasm, purpose, and meaning…”   Gary Zukav, The Seat of the Soul

2 Responses

  1. Dawn E Feign
    | Reply

    I needed to hear this. My husband went to Heaven 17 months ago and I still have trouble. I will print this and keep it handy to read again and maybe again.

  2. deborahusry
    | Reply

    I really like this. I am 10 months out and am beginning to understand that there really may be new possibilities for me. It makes me nervous because somehow it feels as if I am leaving my life with my LH but this is a very thoughtful post.

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