As humans, we have an innate ability to adapt. Along the healing journey of trauma, one may notice positive changes in one’s outlook on life, relationships, and priorities. A grave experience diverts a person’s focus towards deeper meanings in life and makes one work towards what was lost or left behind. According to research, more people claim personal progress following a traumatic event than psychiatric illnesses.
Many people report personal growth and a greater appreciation of life after a traumatic event than psychiatric disorders, observes a study. This development occurs in some patients during their cancer treatment.
What is post-traumatic growth?
“Post-Traumatic Growth” is the positive psychological change that some individuals experience after a life crisis or traumatic event. Post-traumatic growth doesn’t deny deep distress but rather posits that adversity can unintentionally yield changes in understanding oneself, others, and the world. This behaviour has been noticed not only in cancer patients, but also in those who have experienced other sorts of trauma, such as car accidents, natural catastrophes, or the death of a loved one. It is a psychological concept that emphasises human resilience and the possibility for progress. Researchers point out that post-traumatic growth is not synonymous with resilience. People that are resilient return to their previous levels of functioning. Positive personal improvement is in fact referred to as post-traumatic growth.
What forms does post-traumatic growth take?
People may experience different types of growth while coping with cancer, including:
Improved relations with others
Living with cancer can strengthen bonds with family and/or friends. For example, through supporting each other, you may become closer to your spouse or partner. It may also be easier to connect with others who have been through a traumatic situation.
New life experiences
A cancer diagnosis may cause you to reconsider your priorities. As a result, you may make alternative life decisions, such as changing careers or confronting a fear.
A greater appreciation for life
Some people think they love life more and are more vulnerable to death. This awareness may help you enjoy your surroundings in new ways.
A sense of personal strength
Some people say they have increased mental strength and feel more empowered. This can occur as a result of being proud of what you have accomplished and experienced.
You might be more interested in adding spiritual depth to your life, such as through religious practise.
Can I aid in my personal growth?
Even after undergoing post-traumatic growth, you may experience tension and bad emotions. Both growth and suffering can occur together. The majority of people who claim post-traumatic growth also describe difficulties. Post-traumatic growth, like post-traumatic stress, is not something everyone experiences. Research shows that these people are more likely to experience it:
- Those who generally adapt well to new experiences and challenges
- Those who keep a cheerful outlook
- Those who have a strong social support network
To foster personal growth through your cancer experience, consider these steps:
Find ways to reduce your anxiety and stress. For example, use relaxation techniques, exercise regularly, and talk with supportive friends.
Reflect on your experience
Process your experience through journaling, creating art, or talking with supportive people.
Restore a sense of safety
Consider speaking with a skilled mental health practitioner who can offer you with counselling. This can help you put your cancer experience into context and manage with the uncertainties that cancer can bring.
Connect with others
Participate in a support group. Talk with people who have had similar cancer experiences, either in person or online, to find mutual support and encouragement.
Create a post-trauma life vision
Consider what you’ve learnt and the experience you’ve had since being diagnosed with cancer. Then, decide how you wish to live your life more fully.
The information was developed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and was presented on cancer.org; This information was originally published at https://www.cancer.net/coping-with-cancer/managing-emotions/post-traumatic-growth-and-cancer; https://www.psychologytoday.com
Help is here:Toll-Free Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline Kiran (1800-599-0019)
Name of the Organisation: Indian Cancer Society The ICS is one of the first voluntary, non-profit, National Organization for Awareness, Detection, Cure and Survivorship of those affected with this disease.
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Name of the Organisation: Vandrevala Foundation Vandrevala Foundation is a non-profit that partners with organizations to help communities thrive by providing education and healthcare. Vandrevala Foundation launched a mental health helpline in India in 2009 to offer free psychological counselling and crisis mediation to anyone who is experiencing distress due to depression, trauma, mood disorders, chronic illness, and relationship conflict.
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