Post-traumatic growth (PTG) is different from resilience, which is defined as the experience of overcoming adversity and returning to your former state. With PTG, you come away from a struggle changed for the better, typically in one or more of five major areas: appreciation for life, relationships with others, recognition of new possibilities, personal strength, and spiritual change. “It takes work, and attention, and energy [to achieve post-traumatic growth],” notes Dr. Tedeschi. But the effort pays dividends. Surviving a period of intense stress or pain can give you a crystal-clear view of your priorities, an intense appreciation for and bond with your partner, or a sense of unshakeable confidence in yourself. You haven’t simply found your way back to normal — you’ve completely changed. And while you may not want to relive the instigating experience or wish it on anyone else, the unique consequences on your outlook or sense of self can become something you value and even cherish.
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