Helping to Develop Resilience During COVID-19

Coronavirus text and models of virus over planet earth.

The COVID-19 virus has created significant stress and duress in the lives of so many Americans, whether child or adult. We have seen a tremendous rise in anxiety, depression and related mental health issues throughout our country. In the midst of this crisis we have come to understand and recognize the importance of resilience as a way to overcome some of the emotional obstacles.

In a recent article published by the Center on the Developing Child from Harvard University this topic is discussed with recommendations as to how to create resilience. The article reflects some of the neurological and practical steps to help us grow our resilience. Here are some excerpts from this article.

The worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a source of unexpected stress and adversity for many people.

Resilience can help us get through and overcome hardship. But resilience is not something we’re born with—it’s built over time as the experiences we have interact with our unique, individual genetic makeup. That’s why we all respond to stress and adversity—like that from the COVID-19 pandemic—differently.

Think of resilience as a seesaw or balance scale, where negative experiences tip the scale toward bad outcomes, and positive experiences tip it toward good outcomes.

Image courtesy of The Center of the Developing Child, Harvard University

The point where the scale balances is called the “fulcrum,” and if it is more to one side or the other, it can make it harder or easier to tip the resilience scale to the positive. Everyone’s fulcrum is in a different spot—which explains why each person is different in how easily we can counterbalance hardships in life. The good news is that the fulcrum can be moved by developing a toolkit of skills you can use to adapt and find solutions. (More on that later.

So, what can we do to build up and strengthen resilience right now during the COVID-19 outbreak? And how can we build resilience to plan ahead for future times of crisis?

This article continues to describe and illustrate 3 ways to build resilience through your own resilience toolkit. Here is the link to this valuable research:

We have a long way to go to heal and overcome the impact of COVID-19. Our ability to heal will be in direct proportion to the level of resilience that we all will develop in the days, weeks and months to come. Developing resilience will also prepare us for other life crises that we will encounter in the chaotic adversities we may face in the future. 

Gerry Vassar


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