You’ve probably heard of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a disorder occurring in those that experience or witness a life-threatening event — such as a natural disaster, terrorist attack, murder, rape, or combat in the line of duty. You probably haven’t heard of post-traumatic growth, leaving many to wonder if it’s possible. 

Similar to PTSD, post-traumatic growth occurs after someone experiences or witnesses a life-threatening or life-altering event. Unlike PTSD — which results in anger, shock, fear, depression, and guilt — post-traumatic growth will result in positive emotions and behaviors. It stands to prove that we are destined to grow as individuals after experiencing trauma in our lives. 

Research and studies suggest post-traumatic growth to occur in 30-70% of individuals that experience trauma at some point in their life. Although some will experience this right away, it might take others some time to see the positive out of the situation. 

5 Elements of Post-Traumatic Growth

No one wants trauma to show up on their doorstep and it’s certainly not something you can prepare for. Many people will either lost all sense of meaning when trauma comes knocking, while others might feel like they need to make drastic changes in their life just to make up for it.

Post-traumatic growth is not about completely changing your life after a traumatic experience, but rather an opportunity to learn, grow, and make the respective decisions needed to better your life. Trauma is bound to wreak havoc in your life, but it’s how you respond and react to it that will determine your outcome. 

When it comes to post-traumatic growth, there are 5 key elements that will entice those that seek the benefit:

  1. Personal Strength – When we realize that it’s possible to not only survive, but grow from trauma, we start to view ourselves as strong-minded. Before, we constantly focused on our weaknesses, but our strengths can help us find happiness in the darkest of times. 
  2. Closer Relationships – We all have those few people that we always turn to when things get rough. For most people, it’s only in these moments of trauma that we reach out for help. You’d be surprised at those that will show support when you need it the most. 
  3. Life Appreciation – We will often find new meaning in life, a deeper meaning, when we experience trauma. Even the littlest things, the smallest moments, will be treasured and no longer taken for granted. 
  4. More Opportunity – A change in perspective is always good for the mind, body, and soul. When reflecting back on trauma, you start to open your eyes to all the opportunities you’ve missed or things you haven’t paid enough attention to. 
  5. Spiritual Change – When you think of the body and the mind, you can think of them as the vehicle. Your spirit, however, is the driver of the vehicle. Traumatic experiences can change someone’s spiritual view of the world and their life for the better through post-traumatic growth.

If you’ve been the victim of a traumatic experience and have fallen into a downward spiral, it’s okay — it’s more common than you’d think. Don’t let your thoughts run you into the ground, let them uplift you and lead to an improved version of yourself.