Finding your path to happiness with Post-Traumatic Growth
What to do and how to grow post-trauma.
Audrey Del Prete
Many of us during our life time are on the pursuit to find happiness. And most of us believe that happiness means a lack of sadness, anger, despair, hardships, but that is just not true. The reality is that life would not be complete without the emotions of sadness, anger, frustration, etc. How will we know what happiness feels like if we don’t know what sadness feels like? How do we know the difference between hot and cold? Because we experience both.
Have you ever felt that you are out of luck because there are some things about your life or past that you just can’t change? That you are stuck in an unhappy life? Again, that is just not true.
How do people with trauma histories find their way to happiness? Most people are familiar with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), but how many of us think about Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG) following the trauma?
PTG is far beyond building resiliency to adversity. PTG is experienced when a person learns and grows from a trauma. They become a new person or have a new outlook that would never exist without the existence of trauma. Think of it as a transformation.
How do I know if I’ve experienced PTG? Psychologists looks for the following five positive responses:
- Appreciation of life.
- Relationships with others.
- New possibilities in life.
- Personal strength.
- Spiritual change.
Another thing to note, trauma looks and feels different for everyone, but regardless of how you perceive trauma you can take the steps to begin your post-traumatic growth, build your resiliency, and find happiness.
Here are simple steps you can take:
- Disclose your situation and find help. Whether you disclose to a close friend or family member or seek professional services, the first step is to acknowledge the trauma and talk about it. If you are in immediate danger, please contact emergency services.
- Reflect. After you have talked about the situation, reflect on how it impacted your life. Do you want this experience to continue negatively impacting your life or do you want to turn it into a positive?
- Forgive. This one is probably the hardest for most, but if you harbor anger for the situation, person, or environment which caused you harm, you are only creating more harm for yourself. The best thing you can do for YOURSELF is to forgive. Find out what that means for you.
These three steps are just my recommendations to start the healing and growth process. Post-traumatic growth takes time, sometimes years to truly experience. My last takeaway is to remember that you are in control of your destiny. If you choose to only experience sadness, anger, and grief, that is what your life will foster. But if you choose to learn and grow from what life throws at you, you can become a totally new person full of life, love, and happiness.
If you’re interested in health and wellness coaching for trauma survivors, schedule a free, 30-minute consultation with Always FIT Coaching. We’re here to help.
Audrey Del Prete
As a social worker, health coach, and fitness instructor, I help busy working professionals who struggle with work/life balance and want to make time for healthy lifestyle changes. www.alwaysfitcoaching.com