As we navigate through life’s ups and downs, trauma and loss will undoubtedly play a part in our experiences. While the majority of individuals are familiar with the term post-traumatic stress (PTS), people often don’t realize that struggle and hardship represent a doorway to positive growth and change.

When faced with challenging circumstances in life, it’s just as common to experience post-traumatic growth as it is to undergo PTS in the first place. From greater personal strength and stronger relationships to spiritual enhancement and a deeper appreciation for life, there’s a myriad of benefits derived from post-traumatic growth. And while a traumatic experience can alter your life in unprecedented ways, here’s a look at the mental, emotional and even spiritual changes that can come to define who you are in a positive way. 

What Triggers Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG)?

Experiences deemed as traumatic, like sexual assault, loss of a loved one, terrorism, natural disasters and cancer, can cause post-traumatic growth (PTG) to occur. Although these are common examples of traumatic experiences, PTG can transpire from any difficulty that causes you to question your core beliefs and values – i.e. your philosophy on life, the nature of others, what you’re capable of, your goals, etc. For instance, witnessing disturbing events on the evening news or grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic can bring your values and beliefs into question. 

What Are The Benefits of Post-Traumatic Growth?

  1. It Strengthens Relationships

Oftentimes, trauma can bring people closer together. As you navigate your recovery, the level of care and concern displayed by those in your life can open your eyes to new possibilities within your relationships. To strengthen connections during a hardship, it’s important to remain open – reach out for help, accept support, allow yourself to count on others and don’t shy away from expressing your emotions. Along with improved relationships, people tend to feel closer to family, friends and loved ones, as well as learn more about what those individuals really mean to them. 

  1. It Makes You Aware of New Possibilities

When faced with trauma, it sometimes means reevaluating the goals you’ve set out to accomplish in life. As Alexander Graham Bell infamously said, “When one door closes, another one opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” After a traumatic experience, however, we’re often forced to identify new goals and reestablish our priorities, which allows us to discover new possibilities we may have never considered before. 

  1. It Increases Your Personal Strength

When faced with trauma – however unexpected it may be – it provides you with the foundation to better manage hardships in the future. What’s more, as you embark on your journey towards healing, you’ll discover qualities and strengths about yourself that you weren’t privy to before. There’s an indescribable beauty to finding and harnessing an inner strength you never thought imaginable. 

  1. It Gives You a Deeper Appreciation for Life

When the things you value the most are threatened by a traumatic experience, it provides a renewed sense of gratitude for the smaller, often unnoticed aspects of life. During the recovery process, a person’s perception of life is often altered – priorities shift, things taken for granted are treasured and your appreciation for life is reawakened. 

  1. It Can Increase Spirituality

As human beings, we’re often confronted by a need to make sense of traumatic experiences – often posing questions surrounding “Why?” Reconciling your view of the world is no easy feat, but over the course of recovery, it can drive increased clarity regarding the meaning of life. It’s not uncommon for those who’ve experienced trauma to cultivate a deeper connection with a larger purpose. Whether that be religious or spiritual in nature, it can truly instill a greater sense of fulfillment in life. 

Experiencing Growth Through Trauma

While trauma is a natural part of living life, that doesn’t diminish how unsettling and disruptive a traumatic event can be. And many times, the circumstances arise unexpectedly. As you recover, however, you might discover that there’s not just a light at the end of the tunnel, but positive changes that come from the struggles as well. 

At My Winnipeg Therapist, our trauma counsellors are equipped with the tools and resources needed to guide you through difficult times. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you overcome trauma and reclaim a better outlook on life.

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