• Rebecca Bryan

Everyday Resilience: Realistic Optimism

Uncertainty breeds anxiety and we are in full-throttle uncertain times...so what's getting you through? In these next few blog posts, I will share practices that help boost resilience - that is, the ability to bounce back from adversity. None of them require much time nor effort. But being intentional - in small, daily ways - about building your level of resilience adds up.


Let's start with realistic optimism. It goes something like this:


"I hear there will be flowers in 2020."

"What makes you think that?"

"Because I planted them."


I wake up and hear reports of how the coronavirus spread in the past 24 hours...and how bad the situation is in Europe. I manage cancellations of commitments for the next month, answer texts from anxious family and friends, and worry about my friends who live in poverty and will be seriously impacted by jobs and businesses shutting down. It all feels pretty hopeless, which only adds to my stress level.


So today I planted flowers. And I reminded myself that a silver lining of social distancing, which we are practicing to slow the spread of the virus, is that I have time to enjoy the lovely, early spring weather we are having.


A colleague of mine at Rutgers sounded refreshingly optimistic this week. As Rutgers announced an early start to spring break, faculty were informed they needed to prepare to teach online for the rest of the semester, which understandably caused some stress. My colleague's response? "This is great! Maybe this will encourage faculty to increase their comfort level with teaching online - there are so many innovative tools to use." Realistic optimism.


What's your silver lining this week? Can you feel a little lift when you name it? That's a bit of everyday resilience.

Planting pansies with Nell

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