Post Traumatic Growth

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” – Ernest Hemingway

There is growing awareness and acceptance of the devastating toll trauma either as a victim or witness can have in every aspect of someone’s life. It can shatter assumptions about one’s self, safety, control, trust, power, and the world. Yet in the midst of distress can be seeds for hope. Art, literature, music, and religions attest alike to the transforming power of suffering. There can be post traumatic growth.

Gratitude is often identified by trauma survivors as the key that unlocks growth and healing. “Although my life has shattered into pieces, I’m grateful that at least now I get to reassemble and rebuild my life piece by piece with purpose.” Gratitude guides us to find gifts in the midst of suffering; greater compassion, new appreciation of life and relationships, deeper self-understanding and acceptance, an inspiring purpose, a fresh faith.

There are countless ways to practice gratitude. There is a large body of evidence that supports the mental health benefits of coping practices that include writing, music, affirmations, and visualizations. Creativity could be used to incorporate these into daily spiritual practices that might include journaling a prayer, reciting a scripture or affirmation, singing, writing or listening to inspiring music, or picturing and rehearsing images of gratitude.

Another benefit of gratitude is it that it often motivates and inspires purpose and passion to use the suffering from trauma to make a difference for good in the lives of others. Not only can this be experienced after healing but as a source of motivation during and through the healing. History is full of heroes who through their own suffering were inspired to create the foundation, build the orphanage, mentor the child, write the book, inspire the law, the list continues on with countless differences made for good.