How to strength train your ’emotional resilience’ before disaster strikes
Not to brag, but I think I’m on my way to wining the gold medal in emotional resilience. Emotional resilience, ICYMI, is the ability to adapt to a stressful change or recover from a painful experience efficiently, and my year has had plenty of that. But, uh, is there a way to toughen up yourself up emotional without going through traumatic events?
Well, like a paralyzing fear of change, research long suggested the emotional resilience was something relatively genetic or inherited. My suspicion: if you’re highly neurotic like me, the predisposition to be resilient is not really there. Like, you fear change, and then you cry about it. The good news, though, is that you can build up emotional resilience like you can build up washboard abs (I mean I can’t, but someone can). In fact, there are courses in the United Kingdom and New Zealand that teach emotional resilience. If you don’t have the cash for a plane ticket, though, we do have some advice on hand…
Battling hopelessness in Hurricane Dorian’s aftermath is key
The photos from the Bahamas and other places ravaged by Hurricane Dorian are heart wrenching, as are the stories of loss being told by the survivors.
While the physical trauma is easy to spot, other types of trauma are not so visible, says JMU Graduate Psychology Professor Lennie Echterling, whose research areas include trauma and disasters, counselor education, resilience and positive psychology.
“The other issue here is that the support system is down too,” Echterling said, noting that communities have been wiped out. “The social and psychological infrastructure is one of the first things that needs rebuilding.”
When Echterling trains first responders, he emphasizes the importance of listening to the survivors. “Stories have to have an audience,” he said, noting that story telling helps people rebuild their lives and provides hope for the future.
Echterling said the first responders need support too. In a disaster as large as that created by Dorian, first responders can often feel like their efforts lack impact….