Post-traumatic growth

The narrative of growth from adversity might sound convincing, but it's difficult to collect reliable data on people before and after they've experienced trauma.

Studies found that people are not very good at accurately remembering what they were like before a traumatic event. When they think they have experienced growth, it might just be a coping mechanism. Those who reported personal growth after a tragedy were more likely to continue to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

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The silver lining of tragedies

In our culture, there's this idea that going through a disaster can be good for you and make you stronger.

After experiencing loss or trauma, people usually report feeling a greater appreciation for life, closer relationships; they feel stronger, more spiritual and more inspired.

It can be problematic to embrace the idea that personal growth and resilience are typical outcomes of adversity.

Not everyone is stronger after a traumatic event. However, the support of family, friends, and communities in the wake of a traumatic event, plays a significant role in growing from it.

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RELATED IDEAS

Tragic optimism acknowledges the pain and suffering of our circumstances, and at the same time, the ability to maintain hope.

Tragic optimism is to accept that suffering is part of life and realise that challenges provide us with a learning moment.

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IDEAS

  1. Use deep breathing or a mantra to acknowledge the reality of the traumatic event.
  2. Choose a positive word or phrase that helps you stay grounded, like love, peace or connection.
  3. Imagine what the future can be using the chosen word.
  4. The simple act of imagining unglues us from the negative and bleak mindset we may be stuck with.
The support of family and friends is a vital element in handling stressful situations. 
  • Seeking, and giving support is a powerful way to manage the stress in your life and boost your resilience. This includes listening to and emphasizing with a friend, mentoring, and volunteer work.
  • Acts of physical touch can ease your stress, like hugging or holding hands.
  • Spending time with animals is known to reduce stress, and there is ample evidence that pets are a source of comfort and stress relief.

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