Growing From Trauma: How to find meaning, clarity and Change your Life for the Better! Learn how to regain life quality and live with trauma.
Coping with traumatic events can be challenging, but it’s possible to experience positive psychological changes as a result. This phenomenon is known as post-traumatic growth (PTG). During difficult times, individuals may undergo stress-related growth, benefit-finding, perceived benefit, differences in outlook, and psychological thriving. It’s worth noting that PTG can be brought on by various stressful events, including illness, loss of a loved one, job insecurity, or significant life changes.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has brought about considerable challenges to individuals’ everyday routines and mental well-being. This is an arduous time for everyone. Nonetheless, this can also be viewed as a chance for personal development and learning. How can we approach this situation with a constructive and inventive outlook, and discover means to enhance ourselves?
Growing from trauma: COVID and PTSD
The past year and a half has been particularly challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have faced many obstacles, including loss, separation, anxiety, and uncertainty. We have experienced significant and minor changes affecting our daily lives during this period.
However, we have also seen how powerful community and support can be during difficult times. Despite this, it is essential to recognize that this situation has significantly impacted our mental health. It is understandable to feel overwhelmed or anxious during these trying times, and we are here to offer our support and understanding.
“Everyone responds to these experiences differently,” says Philip Lanzisera, PhD, a psychologist with Henry Ford Health System. “Being a frontline worker during the COVID-19 crisis, seeing loved ones pass away from COVID-19, having COVID-19 yourself—these are all traumatic experiences that could lead to a post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.”
It’s common for individuals to experience PTSD-like symptoms following a traumatic event. It can be challenging to overcome such an experience, but most people recover over time. For those with PTSD, though, it may feel stuck and unable to progress. It’s important to understand that trauma affects everyone differently, and seeking assistance is acceptable if necessary.
“The brain takes over, you become anxious, and it’s terrifying,” says Dr Lanzisera.
“Your ability to think logically gets wiped out. If this is happening to you, you must realize you are going through it and ask for help. The sooner you do something about it, the more likely you can prevent it from getting worse.”
Growing from trauma: How can we boost our emotional resilience during COVID-19?
We can all do several things to help boost our emotional resilience at this time. These are simple things like ensuring we sleep well, have a varied and healthy diet, exercise regularly and significantly, and connect with family and friends.
In the late 1990s, it was researched and confirmed that trauma and adverse experiences could spur positive change, including recognising personal strength, exploring new possibilities, improving relationships, a greater appreciation for life, and spiritual growth. We see this in people who have endured war, natural disasters, bereavement, job loss and economic stress, severe illnesses and injuries. So despite the misery of the coronavirus outbreak, many of us can expect to develop in beneficial ways in its aftermath.
Adversity shakes up our world. It makes us question everything we had understood to be true about what makes us tick — and what makes others tick. It’s up to us: We can choose to be resilient and grow from our pain, or we can wallow as we wait for the next storm to hit because trauma, obstacles and adversity are a fact of life, and another storm will hit us at some point in the future.
Growing from trauma: Tips on how to be resilient to be able to grow from it
- It’s a matter of perspective. Reframe your situation positively and look for ways to grow and learn from the experience. Take the time to examine what the pain and discomfort teach you. People often learn something about themselves amid struggle. Trauma and adversity can give you a heightened appreciation for life. You become resilient when you use obstacles and adversity to clarify what matters to you.
- Get connected. Building strong, positive relationships with loved ones and friends can provide you with needed support and acceptance in good and bad times. Establish other meaningful connections by volunteering or joining a faith or spiritual community.
- Take care of yourself. Tend to your own needs and feelings. Participate in activities and hobbies you enjoy. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Get plenty of sleep. Eat a healthy diet. Practice stress management and relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing or prayer.
- Be proactive. Don’t ignore your problems. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, plan, and take action. Although recovering from a significant setback, traumatic event, or loss can take time, your situation can improve if you work at it.