As I write this article, I am at home in a compulsory 21 lockdown issued by the nation due the pandemic that struck us without much time to think or plan- The Covid 19. The year 2020 though started with lot of hopes and optimism got suddenly disrupted and made the whole world stand still for weeks together. Well, a situation of this kind is “unprecedented”, said the world leaders. But I think, Incidents like these remind us the biggest truths of humanity and the concept of one world. When one part of the world suffers, the other also gets affected. We are no more an isolated group of species but are a link in the connected world which includes humans and the entire nature. Countries and borders become a hypothetical and legal structure, whereas people become a collective. These incidents reminds us that we, as a species are actually one and never meant to be separate from one another. It may seem fictitious or a Hollywood movie type to even think that an invisible microorganism can determine the fate of the so-called mightiest species that have been rulers of the earth and the space so far. But yes, we now realise this is the truth. The aftermaths of this pandemic could be multi-fold, affecting psycho social and economic status of all segments of people badly. OK, I know you would have read various statistics on the worst times ahead. But let me give you the good news and the hopes ahead. Let me tell you about the power of resilience.
Let me tell you about how human beings have the capacity to bounce back after any calamity.
Prof. George Bonanno is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University. His pioneering research work on resilience on the study of loss and trauma. He conducted various studies to understand the psychology of people in facing trauma and how they come out of it. Studies included interviewing couples who lost a spouse, victims of certain family problems and most importantly victims or close associates of natural disasters and terrorist attacks. After the world trade center attacks on September 11, Bonanno and his research team did large-scale surveys with various groups of New Yorkers. The cohort that experienced
the greatest difficulty perhaps unsurprisingly, comprised those who had both witnessed the attacks first hand and lost a loved one. Bonanno found that the incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was higher in this cohort than in his randomly sampled groups approximately 30 percent but still didn’t exceed a third of the group. In many similar longitudinal studies conducted further by him on people under natural disasters, after the SARS epidemic, following the loss of a child or spouse, it was revealed that no matter how bad the trauma, rates of PTSD never exceeded one-third and rates of resilience were always found in at least one- third and never more than two-thirds of the population. This finding simply points to the only possible answer: There is always at least a minority, or even a majority, to take care of those deeply affected by a trauma. Secondly, the presence of personal resilience traits like optimism and confidence. These qualities help us as protective assets against life’s stressors.
So, coming back to what I said in the beginning, bouncing back is what makes us a human being. This bounce back ability from adversity is also aided by high-functioning social networks- friends, family,religious and community organisations, satisfying jobs and access to government support and resources. In another seminal forty year longitudinal study by researchers Emmy E Werner and Ruth S Smith, published in 2001, where they followed nearly 700 children growing up in Hawai with risk factors like poverty, parental discord and prenatal stress concluded that social factors such as the support of an adult role model in the community buffered the effect of adversity and appeared to predict positive outcomes in anywhere from 50-80 percent of their high risk population.
This simply means that we as a society are bound to be resilient and we achieve it with togetherness. We need more leaders and role models to uplift the society and needy after this season of pandemic.
We need more support groups and communities to help each other. More importantly, we need the
countries with better alliances for supporting the humanity as a whole instead of fighting their borders or building nuclear weapons go useless in front of an unknown virus. Let more and more funds be spent on healthcare ,environment, science research and
humanitarian matters than on defence and warfare.
Let the world unite and be one. After all, we did fight it together in front of an invisible organism, why not unite for matters of humanity and nature?
Gratitude to all our healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses and medical staff, cleaning staff, police, logistics workers and every frontliners who helped in surviving this. We owe our lives to you!
Cheers to humanity! Cheers to the resilient human kind Cheers to Nature!
#CeeVee is the brand name of Dr. Chandra Vadhana.
Dr. Chandra Vadhan
Founder and Chief Mentor,