A New York Times article written by Jim Rendon discusses “post traumatic growth” and includes five areas of positive transformation following a life changing struggle.
In this post, I share with you those five areas of transformation and explain why some people are able to experience amazing personal growth following trauma while others deteriorate.
Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun, psychologists and researchers at the University of North Carolina studied more than 600 trauma survivors and heard the same thing over and over again. The people wished deeply that they had not suffered the loss or the injury, but reported that the experience had changed them for the better.
The people interviewed in the study reported positive transformation in five areas following traumatic experiences:
- They felt more spiritually satisfied.
- Their relationships improved.
- They experienced more personal growth.
- They found new possibilities for themselves.
- They had a renewed appreciation for life.
Tedeschi continued to track and measure the positive transformation in people following extreme adversity, and in 1995, he and Calhoun coined the phenomenon “post traumatic growth.” Tedeschi reported that post traumatic growth in the wake of trauma is more common than post traumatic stress disorder (P.T.S.D.) and can even coexist with it.
In my experience as a clinician treating people who have experienced trauma, I have seen both trauma survivors who are extremely resilient and have experienced positive growth following the experience and survivors whose lives rapidly deteriorate in a massive downward spiral.
Here is the question. What makes some people thrive in the wake of trauma and others deteriorate?
Studies have shown that our overall level of happiness is:
50% our natural disposition (born in us).
10% our circumstances.
40% our activities.
According to these percentages, those who are born more optimistic are going to be naturally more resilient. However, this only accounts for about half of the equation. Regardless of a person’s natural disposition, there are activities a trauma survivor can do that will dramatically increase their ability to find joy in life, experience breakthrough opportunities, and grow in amazing ways.
What determines whether a trauma survivor thrives or deteriorates? It really boils down to the copying skills that the person applies following the experience. A person who utilizes healthy coping strategies is likely to experience post traumatic growth where as a person who copes in destructive ways will spiral down quickly.
My Monday post will discuss these coping skills- both the healthy and the destructive. Stay tuned……
If you would like to share an effective way that has helped you cope with life changing struggles, please comment below. Let us know what has helped you. Together we can learn!