Going through hard times is rough and uncomfortable, but there are hidden benefits that make it worth it. No one really enjoys the experience of being homeless, jobless, a victim of identity theft, losing your home and most of your belongings to fire, flood or even a tornado, living with cancer in your body, etc., but psychologists say that these lifetime events make us stronger physically and mentally.

According to a research report by Psychologists, Judith Mangelsdorf and Michael Eid: What makes a thriver? Unifying the concepts of posttraumatic and postecstatic growth, “Individuals who lived through posttraumatic growth typically report positive changes in the areas of relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, openness for new possibilities, and personal strengths.”

1. Relationships

After going through a traumatic event such as losing a loved one, people usually feel closer to their friends and family members. Before the trauma, we tend to take for granted our friendship and kinship with those we have in our lives. After the trauma, such as suffering a loss of someone who meant a great deal to us, like a parent or grand-parent, we realize how precious time is for sharing life with those who are closest to us in our lives and we make more of an effort to connect with them.

Like the song says : “Goin fishin isn’t such an imposition.” (Tim McGraw, Live Like you were Dying)

2. Spirituality

Surviving a life-threatening event makes us realize our lives on earth are temporary and we reach out to a higher power to feel safe. Let’s face it, just about everyone I know fears dying. So, when life throws a curve ball, like being diagnosed with cancer, and you feel scared, it’s comforting to know that no matter what happens, you are going to be alright. We know we are powerless at times against cancer, fire, floods, tornadoes, job loss, etc., so it helps to connect with a high power who has the control over our lives we do not have.

3. Appreciation of Life

When we come face to face with an event whereby we could have been killed, such as a plane crash, we tend to see our life from a different point of view. We usually call it “a second chance” and tend to take inventory to see what we have done in our lifetime and what it is we have not done. While we go through the pain and agony of being broken and bruised, we make plans to have fun and be more spontaneous, and maybe even change our schedule to allow for more family time.

4. Openness to new Possibilities

Suddenly, after having survived an event that ordinarily would have resulted in death, we view our lives looking through a lens we never used before: “possibilities.” Before the traumatic experience, we may have been set on a course and no one or nothing would steer us off of it, but now, since we have been given more time to live, other possibilities come into play.

Perhaps, there is a new invention written in a notebook with a hesitance to go through the process of making it a real product for others to use, but now there is an urge to take the invention idea to the next level. Or you have had a thought concerning a new career and now being a survivor of hard times, you are open to making a career change.

5. Personal Strength

An event that nearly takes our life away can make us feel stronger physically and mentally for having survived it. Now we are thinking that we can be more adaptable to certain people and circumstances than ever before. Psychologist believe that after a person survives a death-defying event, their thought processes change significantly and begin to think of themselves more capable of handling anything life throws at them.

Life definitely has its ups and downs, with its hard times. It’s not a pleasant experience going through these challenging times, but it is somewhat comforting to know that you will survive them and be stronger in the long run.

Featured photo credit: Psychedelic Vision Walk in the Forest via picjumbo.com

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