You've likely heard of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but do you know about posttraumatic growth (PTG)? I heard this term for the first time when attending a recent presentation featuring Scarlett Lewis whose 6 year-old son, Jessie, was murdered in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
PTG is a positive change experienced as a result of the struggle with a traumatic event or a major life crisis. Ever had one of those?
The term, PTG, was coined in 1995 by Dr. Richard Tedeschi, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina and co-author of the handbook Post Traumatic Growth. If you care to take a "Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory", click here.
Individuals with PTG tend to experience change in 5 general areas:
- New opportunities and possibilities emerge.
- New relationships develop; or current relationships change, often becoming closer.
- One's sense of personal strength increases.
- Appreciation for life is enhanced.
- A deeper spiritual connection is found and/or a change in one's belief system.
Despite the circumstances, there is always something to be grateful for.
I challenge you to:
- Pause briefly each day (at least once).
- Inhale as you say to yourself: "I am thankful".
- Slowly exhale as you say to yourself "Grateful for ___________".
- Use your next breath to breathe in that sense of gratitude.
- Allow it to fill your heart space.
- Then exhale slowly, letting it spread throughout your body.
- Do it again as you remind yourself to drop your shoulders and jaw.