Monday, March 16, 2020

SURVIVING A PANDEMIC WITH PERSPECTIVE

By: Lennard Gettz

As a volunteer and survivor of the 9/11 attacks, I learned to recognize the many types of losses that are associated with disasters. This includes loss of life, property and security - but also the overwhelming loss of one's mental well-being from the trauma that comes with having something significant forcibly ripped away from you.

It is human nature and common practice to forget our blessings and take things for granted as we hyper-obsess on the woes of our adversity. It certainly does not help when everywhere you turn, headlines push the same fear-driven buzz terms about how grim our current situation appears to be.  Terms like UNPRECEDENTED OUTBREAK, UNCERTAIN TIMES, GLOBAL PANDEMIC and DEATH TOLLS echo one depressing report after the next.  Understandably, getting people to think prevention by invoking fear from contamination means highlighting the darkest motivations and the many consequences that come with it.

Having lived through an era of wars, terror attacks, mass shootings and cancer deaths, disasters have a way of delivering hopelessness like a swift punch in the gut, then followed by a ground swell of negativity and bad reactions from the murky unknowns and unexpected losses. But as impending disasters go, this may be the right time to empower ourselves with a new flavor of forward thinking and a healthy new perspective.  We need to take a major breath from all this as part of maintaining our sanity and not succumb to PANIC and the allure of fear.

1) Historical reference shows that there is always a tipping point to a better day! It may not feel that way now, and maybe worse days may yet be ahead of us, but taking on a more worldly view of any tragedy (historically) has always shown us RECOVERY, RESTORATION and a RETURN to normalcy.

2) We live in an era of ADVANCED SCIENCE: at 2020, our medical community has helped us overcome a large percentage of cancer cases, developed artificial intelligence, nano-technology, micro-processors, innovative robotics and a wide array of remarkable technologies. Outside of warp drive and time travel, there's not much we have not been able to solve when we put our minds and resources together.

3) THE INFORMATION AGE: thanks to today's communication and our global info-sharing community, finding an answer to this (and any problem) is easy access worldwide. Knowing this helps reinforce our faith in our ability to find an eventual solution, leading to our road to recovery.  This information age also redefined the sharing and pay-it-forward aspects of humankind by facilitating their ability to collaborate and problem solve on a global scale.

Hence this too shall pass.

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Yes, I agree... this too shall pass. And, as history shows us, we will recover, restore and return to normalcy. Here's a thought, though... what if each one of us can raise the bar on what's 'normal?' For example, we seem to be much more focused on self-care these days. What if daily self-care routines became part of our new normal? And, I've heard people say how much they've taken 'everyday things' for granted, until now. As a psychotherapist, I have experienced and seen the tremendous benefits of incorporating daily self-care and gratitude practices. I would love to see everyone in this world turn this crisis into a valuable lesson of turning unhealthy physical and emotional habits into healthy new ones. - Tamara Green, LCSW