All of us are showing a lot of resilience during these COVID-19 times. Every day brings new challenges. How we will survive this pandemic depends on many factors, but it definitely depends on the level of resilience we can muster.
One of the big differences between people that are more resilient and those that are less resilient is our capacity to imagine ourselves overcoming whatever is happening.
If you think you will not be able to withstand the stressor, you might be priming yourself to giving up sooner. You might believe that whatever is happening is too much for you. This belief tends to be erroneous, because humans have an amazing capacity to adapt.
There is a big difference between what you actually can overcome, which is a lot, and what you believe you can, which in many cases is a lot less than your potential.
Awareness of your huge capacity is more helpful than the belief in limitations in terms of supporting your efforts.
Another difference between people that have more or less ability to overcome adversity is whether one has something to live for. This has to do with whether one knows what one is living for, since everybody does have something to live for. Why is this important for resilience?
Viktor Frankl, wrote about the connection between resilience and goals in his famous book “Man’s Search for Meaning” (yes…the title is very dated, it should read “The Human Search for Meaning”). What he figured out is incredibly interesting.
In this book, Frankl shares what he discovered in the Nazi concentration camps about the human mind. He noticed that some people floundered and others pushed harder to survive. He built a whole theory of psychology on this realization.
He figured out something important about one of the elements of resilience. He learned that people that had something they wanted to accomplish or do after the ordeal of being in the concentration camps were more likely to survive.
Knowing that they had a life goal, a project to finish, or someone to reunite with, helped them feel they could do whatever was in their power to live one more day.
Frankl himself is a great example of what he found out. In the middle of adversity, he followed his love for psychology and transformed the horrors of the concentration camps into an experiment for learning about human beings!
Others who had lost hope and had less clarity about what they hoped to do after the terrible experience, were less likely to keep going. Frankl lived to write his book.
Maybe at this moment you are checking in with yourself to figure out whether you are the person who can keep going or the person that gives up.
Are you clear about what life you are forging during and after the pandemic is over? Are you curious about what each moment brings? Are you working towards something meaningful to you?
Or are you feeling despondent, hopeless and living every day as it is a burden? Are you paralyzed by fear?
We are all feeling rather stressed these days. You would be a block of wood if you did not. Any perceptive and aware person has to have some level of worry now.
While negative feelings might not be surprising, they are not conducive to keeping your life moving. Uncertain times require that we develop as much resilience as we can, so when this is over, we can move on, and not waste our precious life.
We need to know what to act for and not waste the opportunity to regroup. The team here at IHI, can help you in this journey by working on your whole being.
In sessions with a social worker, you can work through doubts you may have, clarify your life goals, and get yourself moving in the direction of your dreams.
You can work on feelings you have left on your back burner, and use the time available to center and strengthen yourself psychically.
This is also a good time to work on your physical needs, get yourself straightened-up about your health, and prioritize being in top shape. Getting your mind around self-care is a very worthwhile goal right now.
Getting focused on self-care is not a choice, really. Self-care is fundamental for resilience. It allows you to integrate your experience, and thoughts with your body’s needs.
You can do that right now. You can take action. You can take the first step, and get the support you need.
No need to go about all this alone. We are here to support and help you get there.
Ariel Blau has a formidable passion for helping his clients energize a joyful, loving and creative life. He has more than 30 years of experience helping people bloom. His formal education includes a Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University, a Master’s in Fine Arts from Brandeis University, and a great number of workshops, certificates and seminars. He has been studying mindfulness and how to bring compassion into the world for more than 15 years. His passion for helping others is matched by his enormous drive for continuous learning. Ariel completed his professional clinical training at Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and served as Lead Clinician at the Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven.