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Finding Resilience and Happiness in Troubled Times

EVOLV / December 1, 2020

A Christmas Holiday and year unlike any other.

A second wave of COVID resurgence in a once in a lifetime event leaves many of us reeling with the potential threats to our health, happiness, and financial security.  It is that special and magical time of year…. so how do we cope, and where do we find happiness in these unsettling times? 

At EVOLV Plastic Surgery and Medical Aesthetics we have always believed in science, so I turned to the experts to find some answers to these questions.  What are the ‘secrets’ of emotionally resilient people, and how do they manage?

One published and noted professional in this field is Dr. Lucy Hone from New Zealand, a recognized researcher and specialist in the science of resilience and happiness.  Dr. Hone you see has experience in this field not only from the professional and scientific arena but also on a very personal level.  Dr. Hone lost her only child, her 12-year-old daughter, in an automobile accident while leaving for a family vacation several years ago.  She was devastated, and her grief understandably became overwhelming.  Studies reveal not surprisingly that there is no greater sorrow for a parent than the sudden or unexpected loss of a child.  

But Dr. Hone was able to channel her sorrow and loss into a personal mission to find out the science behind how emotionally resilient people manage their grief, cope with their challenges, and eventually find peace of mind.  In her research, she discovered that there are 3 fundamental strategies common to emotionally resilient people that I believe can help all of us deal with the challenges and threats of the COVID-19 pandemic:

1) Adversity does not discriminate.  Resilient people seem to accept that suffering is inevitable and a universal part of life…. none of us can escape its reach.  Unfortunately, we live in an age of ‘entitlement,’ where many feel they can avoid or hide or escape from the reach of suffering…. we cannot.  Accepting that suffering is a part of life is a coping skill that can be learned and can help all of us to a happier and more peaceful mind.

2) Learning to focus on the good and being grateful.  Resilient people are really good at choosing where to put their attention.  They see the cup as half full, not half empty.  Yes, you can actually learn to put your energy into what you can change, and you can actually learn to let go of what you cannot.  It may sound like an overused cliche, but it works… science has proved it.  

3) Be kind to yourself.  Resilient people ask themselves one critically important question:  is what I’m doing helping or harming me?  Sounds simple doesn’t it?  But it is surprisingly impactful.  Do we really need that extra drink or glass of wine?  Is watching CNN’s nonstop COVID statistics and unending mortality counts helping me or making a positive difference in my attitude and life?   Do I choose to hold on to or let go of my anger, or can I learn to forgive and set myself free?  Are the things I choose to do really helping me?  Maybe it is time to learn a new approach and attitude of choices that actually help our mental health.

It is not easy to learn resilience, and it takes practice and discipline.  Practicing emotional resilience does not take away all our pain, but it is possible for anyone of us to learn a new approach and strategy to hardship that can begin to give us peace and eventual happiness.  This is the season of family and friends gathering, but we are challenged to stay apart to protect ourselves and our loved ones.  The fundamentals of emotional resilience can help us all work through it together.

It is the tough times and challenges that define us.  We are very grateful for the opportunity to care for our many patients and friends and for the lives that we touch.  All of us at EVOLV would like to express our thanks and gratitude and to wish everyone health, happiness, and especially peace of mind. It is Christmas, so please leave the light on!