So you have this covered… you are attending a meeting sitting on your sofa sipping a glass of warm water with turmeric and ginger, with above the waist formal dressing, children taped to the floor and spouse buried in the backyard. You are washing your hands repeatedly after watching Amitabh Bachhan or after receiving the nth notification from your News App or the No Use WhatsApp. You are on an assembly line Clean, Cook, Eat. Repeat. You have it all sorted. Or do you?
While the turmeric may or may not improve your immune system, what are you doing for your psychological immune system? Your mental and emotional systems may currently be fighting the viruses of anxiety, depression, fear, conflicts and mental exhaustion. How resilient are you while coping with this unprecedented situation we find all of mankind in?
Resilience is our ability to cope with adversities and bounce back. And just like the bouncing of a ball varies depending on its material, different people have different levels of Resilience too. So Corona or no Corona, here are some tips to build Resilience based on several scientific studies.
- Sense of Humour
An ability to laugh at life’s ironies, an ability to see Dilbert at workplaces and the ability to stand-up with comedy on yourself are those elastic ingredients that will make you bounce back. When Beyonce wrote in her song ‘He Monica Lewiski’d all on my gown’, Monica retorted saying ‘Thanks Beyonce. But if we are verbing I think you meant Bill Clinton’d all on my gown’. Not many know much about Monica Lewinsky, but if you read her story it reeks of resilience.
- Social Support system
Have you ever heard the below sentences:
Everything will be fine
Don’t be so negative yaar, be positive
All for the best
This too shall pass
I told you so
Visit this baba who will give you a ring to wear
Chalo daru pite hai (Lets have a drink)
If yes, then you surely have talked to friends and family about your troubles. Research suggests that one of the strongest protections against life’s ruthlessness is the social support from our loved ones. So go grab that coffee or Wine with your wifi and friend for a session of emotion ventilation.
Are you someone who sees a glass half empty or sees it as an opportunity to add some Whiskey? If you are the latter, you are on the right path to resilience. No, am not saying alcoholism helps. But an inherent ability to see things positively, a belief that good things will happen and a belief in yourself that no matter what the ingredients you can make a great cocktail, goes a long way in dealing with the lemon that life offers.
I am an atheist born in a God fearing family. I believe that the concept of God was man-made for convenience to improve the overall acceptance of life, just like the confession box. Okay okay before I anger a lot of you, let me say this… Research suggests that believing ‘Jesus loves me’, ‘God tussi great ho’ or ‘Allahu Akbar’ buffers us from life’s barbarisms. My mom takes in every sadistic attempt of life as God’s will for her own good, thus reframing her story to one of positivity and acceptance (which in psychology’s geeky terms called Cognitive Reappraisal and helps Emotion Regulation). I wish I was like her and said my prayers more often than “Life is a bitch”. So unless your blind love takes you to an event at the Jammat or makes you drink cow’s urine during COVID, you shall be protected from the upheavals by GOD.
- Meaning or purpose of life
There are many cases where it’s seen that adversity results in post traumatic growth which means that some individuals actually benefit from the misfortune. And these are individuals with a well succeeded search for meaning or purpose of life. Basically its speculated by researchers that every time people experience a sense of meaning in their life, the reward regions of the brain get activated. A continuous activation of these regions makes them not look for external rewards in the world, thus facilitating positive emotions. Forget the Science for a bit, just look at Oprah Winfrey: a traumatic childhood turned into a life of giving and purpose.
And the next time life kicks you hard, remember this…
‘It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward’ (Rocky Balboa)
P.S. While this virus has got you practicing social distancing, a bit of psychological distancing from it will be good for your immune system too.