The Blessing of Traumatic Growth
So often in our lives, when something “bad” happens to us – a divorce, a death in the family, loss of a job, imprisonment – we go into immediate judgment.
“This is horrible,” we say to ourselves.
Feeling victimized by life, we get depressed, feel overwhelmed and anxious.
“I wish I had things a bit easier right now,” we think to ourselves.
Some of the latest research shows that personal trauma may actually be a huge blessing – it can add years to your life.
The MailOnline has an article today proving that overcoming adversity may empower you to live longer.
A study at Haifa University disproves the belief that trauma shortens your life. It was once thought that traumatic events damage victims DNA by shortening the chromosome ends that control lifespan in the body.
As a health coach, I am always encouraging my clients to lower their own stress level and look at their life from a bigger picture, divining new ways to live and work that do not require constant drama.
The research using the National Insurance Institute of Israel database found that male survivors of World War II concentration camps lived an average of 18 months longer than their peers who did not escape the camps.
Study leader Professor Avi Sagi-Schwartz said, “Holocaust survivors not only suffered grave psychosocial trauma but also famine, malnutrition, and lack of hygienic and medical facilities, leading us to believe these damaged their later health and reduced life expectancy.”
The researchers attributed the benefits of trauma to what the article called “post traumatic growth.”
Having life challenges such as losing loved ones, life threatening illness, war, abuse, immigration or other major challenges gives us the opportunity to change our attitude towards life, the researchers found. This gave people a greater appreciation for the value of their own lives, changed their sense of priorities, improved intimate relationships, gave them a greater understanding of their own personal strength and helped them identify spiritual paths for personal development.
Interestingly, the study found no significant differences between women who survived the Holocaust and those who didn’t.
‘The results of this research give us hope and teach us quite a bit about the resilience of the human spirit when faced with brutal and traumatic events,” Professor Sagi-Schwartz said.
What is healing? Healing happens when we recognize the possibility that huge changes underway in our lives may actually be a blessing in our lives – even if we don’t quite yet comprehend how or why.