Resilience – Understanding Fear

TED recently published a captivating talk by (now retired) astronaut Chris Hadfield. You might remember him from his unforgettable “Space Oddity” with over 21 million views on You Tube. He describes in vivid detail how his extensive training helped him cope with the complexity, sheer pressure as well as dangerous and terrifying situations not only during his space missions but also in life.

This high-flying astronaut’s totally down-to-earth approach made me realize what a brilliant example Chris makes for Resilience. It got me thinking just how immensely powerful training is – physical as well as mental – in taking control of what otherwise are ‘hard-wired’ biological responses (fight, flight, freeze).

What is fear?

I think we can agree that it is a powerful emotional force that spans a particularly unpleasant inner spectrum ranging from the first stirrings of unease or apprehension to eventually blind terror all accompanied by a large range of physical symptoms. Taking a temperature reading along any imaginary fear barometer for both physical and mental states is a highly subjective affair and you can find lots of free resources on the web if you wish to delve into this further. More importantly is the realization that fear is one giant paradox for it is both real and fantasy – but with very real consequences.

Fear – what Fear? …. a Quizz

You might recognize the following quotes. Go ahead and have a bit of fun: treat them like a quiz. The footnotes will tell you if you got them right.

Fear is not real, it’s a product of the thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.” 1

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” 2

Mindfulness is running straight into reality. It does not insulate you from the pain of life – rather, it allows you to delve so deep into life that you pierce the pain barrier and go beyond suffering.” 3

So, what do you think?

Although these quotes come from three very different corners of reality past and present I think they all capture the fear paradox really well.
One further point is also very important I think, especially with the general emphasis tending to value conquering or transcending fear – and that is the understanding and embracing that fear is only human.

Feeling Fear is only Human – Not a Sign of Weakness

Paul KleeFeeling fear is inevitable.

Everybody will feel aspects of the fear spectrum at some time. Fears are thoroughly human emotions. You notice that I’m purposefully using the plural here – for being able to differentiate where on the ‘barometer’ you are when and for how long with what kind of fear is the very first step in taking control.

Get to know your fears and name them.

Fear is normal – the Difference between Fear and Panic is Control

If you learn to control apprehensions and fears you can turn them into assets, treat them like a guide that can help you focus. Fears are normal.

The difference between fear and panic is control.

Fear does not have to shut you down. It can wake you up.

Fear can guide you because you can learn to recognize and respect it. Through training you acquire expertise that will kick in for you should things go wrong where fear suddenly might explodes onto the scene. There might even be an app for that 😉

But how do I go about learning to control fear?

Sure, this is all very well I hear you say, but what kind of training? I can’t train for everything. Besides, my life is kind of just ‘normal’ so what’s the point?

I don’t want to sound like a certain ad but “every little helps” really does apply here – especially if you do a little bit a lot of times. And forming a new habit so to speak does not have to be boring.

Learning to Control Fear is simply Amazing

Go play, have fun – in the real world out there and away from virtual reality screens at least 90% of the time. Try completely new activities – and get good at them. Any new skill or trick you add to your toolbox will come in handy at some time in some way.

Then, at the end of your fun activity where you’ve focused both your mental and physical resources, relax. Well, not quite that fast for here lies another paradox. Relax does not simply mean letting go, tune out or turn off. That would be closer to sleep. No,

I mean learn to relax as in mindfulness training and meditation – which is really just another activity only of a very different nature, even if it sounds a bit alien at first. There are many different approaches out there and so you’re bound to find one that’s just right for you. In the end it will help you further hone your mental focus and resources – which, naturally, adds greatly to your personal resilience; for “normal” life has it’s way of suddenly and quite unexpectedly ceasing to be simply be just “normal” – whatever that means to you now that you’re beginning to be in charge of your fears.

Monika


Thank you for sharing, raising awareness for Emergency Preparedness.

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  • 1 Will Smith in the 2013 Movie ‘After Earth
  • 2 Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)
  • 3 Banthe H. Gunaranta, Buddhist Monk (year unknown)
  • also see:

 

Optimism and Resilience: how to achieve Realistic Confidence in the face of Crisis

updated June 2017

We’ve just made our own blog a lot more ‘resilient’ by switching to WordPress hence the delay in putting new articles up. Sorry, but I’m sure you understand and thanks for coming back to share with me more on the topic.

In my last post I wrote about the importance of open public discussions about climate change. Importantly, how our own strong emotions, including pain and fear affect what and how we talk to each another. Such discussions are initially quite polarised or ‘raw’ in the sense that they reflect strong feelings that need to be witnessed in the right context without being misunderstood. Those that put a positive spin on their comments trying to lift the paralyzing gloom and doom are often yelled down by accusations of being blind or worse, being idiots, lazy and apathetic. This of course does not help either.

Finding the right kind of optimism is the real challenge here. Optimism is not just one thing. It is complex and means different things to different people. Optimism is interesting because it comes in different flavours and shades. Contrary to popular belief, ‘resilient’ optimists do not view the world simply through rose-tinted-glasses. Resilient optimists acquire a certain kind or flavour of ‘realistic optimism’ that is just right – the ‘magic’ Goldilocks principle: just right.

To successfully deal with any crisis, realistic optimism serves as the fuel that ignites resilience, providing the very energy so sorely needed to deal with it all, physically, mentally and emotionally. Crises are long and difficult processes and something we all have to learn to cope with at some point in our lives – especially now as we are waking up to an ever more challenging world; one, where we must prepare for a world that’s more than 2° C warmer.

So, how can we become resilient optimists?

First, we need to know the difference. Psychologist Sandra Schneiderexplains that blind optimism is different from realistic optimism in that the blind variety focuses on simply feeling good in the now while the realistic approach takes a wider view with a problem solving stance which goes on to improving our chances to negotiate our changing environments successfully. Does that mean both are mutually exclusive, we have to choose between realist or optimist? Not necessarily – the good news is that there is a way of having both! Desired beliefs are a tremendous force we can harness despite them being a form of self-deception so long as we don’t get lost or distracted by them and have timely, appropriate reality checks in place – which is of course easier said than done! What works for me might not necessarily work for you. Everyone must develop their own brand of optimism and that is hard work and requires a lot of self-reflection as well as the capacity to imagine different kinds of shared futures.

Read that last sentence again. There! That is exactly where the real power lies in my view and it is rooted in the now. Now – as in literally right now – this power is yours. Agreed, now I’m beginning to sound a bit like Yoda but I kid you not: the force really is with you! Thanks to a bunch of incredibly fortunate incidences a long time ago human brains evolved and now we have the awesome power of time travel. You have the power to imagine a better future.

So, right now: what does that mean to you? And no, I don’t mean ‘more stuff’, we’re not squirrels. What could your future really mean to you … you and your friends… you and your friends and your family? Try bigger. You and your community, village and town? Spin it along, elaborate, play with it, have some fun. How would you really like your future to be – and that of your kids. Never mind if you don’t have any right now just imagine you did (if you don’t like kids right now then… oh well, imagine that you do…)

Ok, can you see it? If you really work at it you can even touch it and smell it, really feel it but that takes some practice.

Now – slowly, be gentle. Come back to the present.

Take stock, but keep your wonderful ‘future bubble’ alive.

Now compare –  qualitatively compare: where do you stand now, what resources and abilities do you actually have – you probably have a lot more than you at first can think of so keep a running list. What can you acquire? Not all in one go of course but you can work at it every day. Little by little.

Just keep that future alive and bright in your mind and continue moving towards it. And since you cannot do it all alone you’ll have to count on your friends, family and neighbours – starting with your next-door neighbour to eventually widen and broaden your reach across all your communities. Now for just one minute, imagine we would be all doing that, most of the time in a kind and understanding way creating a shared resilient future for all “just right”. Source https://www.impsandmonsters.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Just-Right_800.jpg Wishing you an imaginative and inspiring weekend, and apologies if the above feels a bit like a roller-coast ride; as a mental agility exercise it was meant to be and hopefully also entertaining, thought- and action provoking. Monika thank you for sharing, raising awareness for Emergency Preparedness!

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Climate Change – who will adapt and develop Resilience and how?

UK floods from space; UK-DMC2 satellite images the flooding on the rivers Arun and Adur in Sussex (source: BBC: http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/72129000/jpg/_72129613_arun_adur_dmcii_after_green.jpg

UK floods from space; UK-DMC2 satellite images the flooding on the rivers Arun and Adur in Sussex (source: BBC)

Last Saturday I posted about sobering article in The Guardian titled ‘Climate change is here now and it could lead to global conflict‘ on our facebook page. Perhaps even more interesting was to follow the huge number of comments left by the public, 1419 at last count. It struck me just how much ‘heat’ some of these comments and highly polarised debates generated, pitching naysayers (it’s just weather!) against doomsayers (worldwide collapse) with a heavy sprinkling of black humour and sarcasm.

The bitter taste of what climate change might have in store for the UK certainly has rattled many nerves.

Extreme weather events no longer are a distant and intangible threat which hitherto was side-lined by public apathy, an attitude of ‘not here, not now and not us’.

Are the 2014 floods really going to change people’s outlook?

This is discussed in a recent New Scientist article by Adam Corner, a research associate in the School of Psychology at Cardiff University who manages the Talking Climate project for the Climate Outreach and Information Network (also as a blog post).

What influential people say – or fail to say – matters

Unsurprisingly, it has been found that some people will remain unmoved as every aspect of the topic of extreme weather and climate change is subject to powerful political, cultural and psychological filters. Crucially, what so called “elite cues” say really matters, especially when they say nothing1. Elite cues are the messages people get from the media, politicians and other high-profile voices i.e. scientists that are understandably reluctant to make simplistic causal links between single weather events and the highly complex dynamics of a changing climate.

I wholeheartedly join Adam Corner in arguing that the climate change debate urgently needs narratives that link ordinary people to the climate change challenge. Extreme weather will have an impact on most aspects of society and will affect us all individually, our families and loved ones. It is high time to discuss – but not through continued polarized debates that create more heat than light.

Everyone affected by the floods need to be heard

People have suffered. People are scared. Some are terrified. Others have a more positive outlook or have luckily not (yet) been affected at all and so might have difficulty to fully empathize. We’re all different and have a right to be heard without being insulted or accused.

I hold with Marilynne Robinson2 who states:

“It is only prudent to make a very high estimate of human nature, first of all in order to contain the worst impulses of human nature, and then to liberate its best impulses.”

I hope this is remembered in the many forthcoming debates.

Monika


thank you for sharing, raising awareness for Emergency Preparedness!

source

References:

1 Adam Cornor discussing Rober Brulle’s analysis of US public opinion on climate change; blog post

2 Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning author, in “The Strange History of Altruism” in the book “Absence of Mind”; i.e. see Guardian book review

Also of interest “Is it time to join the ‘preppers’? How to survive the climate-change apocalypse” article in The Guardian, 17.02.2014

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UK Flooding – Community Resilience is the only answer

Community efforts in clearing floods in Cornwall - source BBC

Community efforts in clearing floods in Cornwall – source BBC

Is this crazy weather ever going to stop?
This question must have been asked millions of times this last week. I’ve read it in the newspapers and magazines, heard it on radio, on the streets, in buses and the tube, on TV. The UK’s resilience, our resilience to cope, adapt, prevail and move on is being sorely tested.

Looking back at the heart-breaking images from the Somerset Levels, the South West and East and noting this weekend’s new severe flood warnings for substantial parts of the Thames Valley it is hard to keep optimistic. It is hard not to descend into depression, to keep up mental agility, thinking flexibly and accurately, neither over- nor underestimating the severity of the impact to our lives and that of loved ones. It is hard to find the energy and willingness to go on and change, willing to find new strategies and simply to continue.

Where is the strength going to come from? How can it be tapped? In ‘resilience speak’ this concerns two key ‘ingredients’ that make up resilience:

character strength – identifying the top strengths in oneself and others, relying on one’s strengths to overcome challenges and meet goals, cultivating a strength approach throughout, including these key virtues (positive psychology)

Source: https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/character-strengths-and-virtues-classification.jpg

connections – building strong relationships through positive and effective communication, empathy, a willingness to ask for and to offer help

Source http://www.oneworldbirth.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Lets-work-together.jpg

Both these key ‘ingredients’ to resilience go hand in hand, neither can really be separated out.

Character strength is never built in isolation. How strong we can be crucially depends on our early and continued social connections throughout life. In turn the strength of our social groups, small and large, are nourished and propelled by inspired individuals that choose to be extraordinary. These extraordinary times have produced extraordinary communities in all flood affected parts of the United Kingdom.

As a somewhat removed Swiss observer yet from ‘within so to speak as someone who lives here I am continually amazed at the British: the speed and boundless generosity with which communities have come together, pooling resources and sheer man (and woman and child!) power to help each another as well as to offer help across wider areas. In fact, generosity is and was so overwhelming that this morning the local newspaper Cheddarvalley Gazette reports that the Westfield Church flood rest centre in Bridgwater had to close their intake of food donations. However, many flood relief funds are active or are just being formed:

Somerset: Somerset Emergency Relief Fund; Farming Communities need help with animal feed (Farmers Weekly); donate via Just Giving (donations should be marked “For Somerset Farmers”); Rotary UK flood appeal for Somerset
Southwest: Devon Flood Fund; Tauheedul Relief Trust;
West and North:
RSPB appeal to help repair extensive damage at Snettisham, Havergate, Dingle and other nature reserves; EDP Norfolk Flood Appeal is ongoing

Also see Storify for more ways to help, courtesy of @wildwalkerwoman via @ThirlwallAssoc Thanks!

Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, was reported in The Telegraph on Sunday suggesting to “spend aid abroad to stop flooding in the UK”. Calls to divert foreign aid are not new, i.e. BBC last September on austerity. While showing flexible thinking and a willingness to try new approaches, simply diverting foreign aid is unfortunately not entirely straight forward. How much is the UK spending? According to the Guardian last year, the UK’s official development assistance (ODA) is expected to rise to GBP11.3bn when it hits the 0.7% target. With a population of about 63 million, the figure works out at roughly GBP137 per Brit. This is part of a long-term resilience strategy as David Cameron argued and in everyone’s interests to build a more prosperous world, otherwise the problems of conflict, mass migration and uncontrollable climate change “will come and visit us at home”. Well, it seems the latter certainly has.

While the politicians wrangle, let us remember that the Disasters Emergency Commitee DEC has raised over GBP90 million for the Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines all mostly from private donations which works out to an average of just GBP1.43 donated per person living in the UK. Despite recent hardships, anyone here luckily can afford to give GBP1.50 or 2.- to help a neighbour in need.

Monika


Thank you for sharing, raising awareness for Community Resilience and Emergency Preparedness.

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Who moved my cheese? Resilience in a fast changing world

updated 05/2016

Change is the only constant - keep moving with the cheese, stay resilient

Change is the only constant – keep moving with the cheese, stay resilient

It’s hard to believe I am in the same country: my view out of the window to a bright London afternoon seems a world away from the news images on my computer screen and TV. Storm and flooding misery continues unabated just three hours travel away. Strangley removed seems the fading memory of our own 24 hour power outage between Christmas and New Year while many areas suffered that fate for a staggering 10 days of blackouts. It all reminds me just how easy it is for us all to move on and forget, to settle snugly once more into our own comfortable and regular bubbles until we’re immediately and personally confronted with disruption.

Lives are so full and busy that we rarely can take time out as it is and if you do who wants to consider ‘uncomfortable’ situations and plan for the exceptional? After all and thankfully, these events are rare. And they usually happen to other people? Right? So back to our regular bubble… moving right on…..and with that our mental agility is taking another comfortable snooze.
Not getting stuck in complacency is an important aspect of mental agility and that is one of the key areas of resilience.

Have you come across a brilliant little book by Spencer Johnson titled “Who Moved My Cheese?” Published in 1998 it remains one of the best-selling business books that motivates people to embrace change. The story is a parable of two mice and two ‘littlepeople’ during their hunt for cheese (aka happiness, success) and culminates in some hard earned wisdom:

  • Change Happens – or They Keep Moving The Cheese
  • Anticipate Change – or Get Ready For The Cheese To Move
  • Monitor Change – or Smell The Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old
  • Adapt To Change Quickly or The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese
  • Change – Move With The Cheese
  • Enjoy Change! Savour The Adventure and Enjoy the Taste of New Cheese!
  • Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again – The Cheese keeps moving

But why bother you ask. Surely with the wettest January on record this will be it … well, perhaps not. I join the BBC in stating “…before you think it’s game over for cold and snow this winter, don’t forget how cold it was last spring. Two consecutive cold springs would surely stretch belief but if we’ve learned one thing about our weather it’s to expect the unexpected.”
Or borrowing from Spencer Johnson one last time: “…continue to smell and move with the cheese”.

And – before I go, just a quick mention: this week we have uploaded our own ‘motivational’ video “Dare to think…..” (or, the proper title being Survival – how to make your own Go Bag and Emergency Kit). Check it out.  [update 05/2016 new ‘Preparedness UK’ video which you can see at the Preparedness Hub]

Have a great week – and ejnoy your cheese!

Monika


Thank you for sharing, raising awareness for Resilience and Emergency Preparedness

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Resilience – nature or nurture?

bamboo-in-the-wind-sid-solomonPhew! While there have been plenty of man-made ‘disasters’ of one sort or another this week at least there have been no major natural disasters and so I take leisure this Friday to delve a little deeper into the topic of ‘resilience’ as is one of the aims of this blog.

You might remember some of the main points I mentioned that play an important role in resilience: self-awareness, self-regulation, optimism, mental agility, character strengths, connections (read previous post).

You probably read through their descriptions and thought that it makes a lot of intuitive sense. In the context of the recent UK floods I then briefly discussed some aspects of optimism and I hope that if you personally were affected you did find some silver lining in it all. Before I pick upon the next strand however, one important question comes to mind. How can you tell that you are or will be resilient? To what extent is resilience innate? To what extent is resilience learnt? Let me begin by telling you a story.

Michael and Mary (a true resilience story)

… were born in the same place at the same time: 1955, the tropical island of Kauai, a paradise with lush rain forests, glorious mountains and pristine beaches at the northwest end of the Hawaiian Islands. Michael, a premature baby, spent his first three weeks in hospital, separated from his teenage mother. His father was absent with the military until Michael was two. By his eight birthday Michael had three younger siblings, his parents were divorced and his mother had left the island, breaking all family ties. Then there is the story of another child. Mary was born into poverty. Her father was an unskilled farm worker and her mother suffered from mental illness. Mary’s life between the ages of five and ten was one of repeated physical and emotional abuse, punctuated by her mother’s several hospitalisations.

Two children with the odds stacked against them.

And yet, by their eighteenth birthday both Michael and Mary were popular at school, possessed solid moral values and were optimistic about their futures.

Michael and Mary’s story is true although their names have been altered to protect their privacy. It is part of one of the first landmark studies into resilience by Emmy Werner and Ruth Smith who, a long time ago in 1955, began tracking 698 children from their pre-natal months to beyond their thirtieth birthday. Of course, a tremendous amount of research has taken place since. Importantly also, several ways of measuring and predicting resilience have emerged.

Now, before you rush off to measure your own resilience please note that it is a highly complex concept and no single measure is ever perfect. At best it can give an indication – a start, a baseline from where you can begin to explore resilience for yourself. It all begins with self-awareness – and a look at the ‘Resilience Scale’ website (Wagnild and Young) is one way of checking this out, free of charge. On their navigation bar look for ‘Test your Resilience’ and have a go. And in case you’d like to read more about Werner and Smith’s work, check out their book “Overcoming the Odds: High Risk Children from Birth to Adulthood“(1992)

Have a great weekend!

Monika


Thank you for sharing, raising awareness for Resilience and Emergency Preparedness.

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More Extreme Weather – heatwave at Australia Open, arctic deep freeze in the US, continued floods in the UK

Dancevic is treated in the extreme heat of Melbourne Park / source http://metro.co.uk/2014/01/14/tennis-player-sees-snoopy-on-court-and-then-collapses-at-australian-open-4262584/

Dancevic is treated in the extreme heat of Melbourne Park; source http://metro.co.uk/2014/01/14/

There I thought I was done talking about crazy weather for a while – not so! Extreme weather events seem to come hard and fast as we head into this new year.

While the UK flooded and the US froze, Argentina baked but ‘heat’ seemed to have slipped the limelight until the Australian Open was disrupted by record breaking temperatures.

On Monday, the average maximum temperature across the country reached a new record of 40.33C. Forecasting that temperatures might reach 54C the Bureau of Meteorology added two new shades of purple to the top of their temperature scale map, New Scientist reported. Thankfully, those predictions were not borne out; else the country would have had to deal with a lot worse than ‘just’ thousands of tennis fans suffering heat exhaustion, as a local newspaper said. As it was, it was bad enough: large numbers of EMS had to be mobilized to respond to heat-related injuries (see heatstroke info i.e. SJA). Heart attacks surged by 300%. Authorities expected an increase of 50% in mortalities caused by the extreme heat mainly affecting the vulnerable (the elderly, infirm and children). The Guardian reported: ‘Australian heat waves are getting hotter and longer says the Climate Council’.

Not a great start to 2014… however, we cannot take these events to simply predict what this summer might bring for us in the UK. We can only remember our own heat waves, how they have affected us in the past and prepare to stay cool. So, here is some context:

– the highest recorded UK temperature was 38.5C on 10/08/2003 Faversham Kent (METoffice); this is only marginally different from Australia’s record last week. Somehow I don’t think here in the UK we’re as adapted and resilient (yet) to heat as the Aussies are, although that is of course a matter of personal tolerance.

– the most recent heat wave (19 days) was last year in July 2013, 33.5C recorded in west London. On 18 July, the Telegraph reports London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine figures that the first 9 days of the heat wave had caused up to an additional 760 deaths. The heat wave ended on 23 July with heavy thunderstorms, bringing flooding and lightning strikes that caused transport disruption, power cuts and fires. One week later temperatures rose again, recording the warmest August temperature since 2003.

Let us hope for a perfectly ‘average’ spring.

Find out more about how to be prepared for a heatwave.

And of interest might be the standardised physiological heat tolerance test (HTT) which evaluates athletes’ tolerance to exercising in the heat. It differentiates between a temporary and permanent state of heat susceptibility (Journal Sport Rehabil. 2007 Aug;16(3):215-21.) HTT is also used by some armed forces to test the heat tolerance of their personnel.

Monika

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Resilience – what it is and how it connects to crazy weather

Resilience - thriving despite difficulties; Resilient Self - Resilienct Relationships - Resilient Problem Solving

Resilience – thriving despite difficulties; Resilient Self – Resilienct Relationships – Resilient Problem Solving

Another crazy weather week! Amazing pictures from the US throughout the week, especially the frozen Niagara Falls and headlines of – literally – Hell freezing over; Hell Michigan that is. Meanwhile more flood misery with heavy rains and violent tidal surges affected thousands here in the UK, causing widespread damage and much personal pain… and more is yet to come we’re being told.

With all this gloom and controversies around flood prevention measures running high it is interesting to note that the Guardian ran an article on how floods are not all uniformly bad, how there is a silver lining (even if somewhat thin) to be had in all of this. I’d like to pick up on this at the close of this week.

Finding the positive side in any situation, no matter how grim and hopeless it might at first appear, is a huge skill and a massively important part of what resilience means. And that, increasingly, is what it’s all about. But what exactly does ‘resilience’ mean? One definition holds that ‘resilience’ is the capacity to cope effectively in stressful situations or adversity. There are a number of core capacities that play role and these are, according to the APA1:

  • (a) self-awareness: identifying one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviours, and patterns in each that are counterproductive
  • (b) self-regulation: the ability to regulate impulses, thinking, emotions, and behaviours to achieve goals, as well as the willingness and ability to express emotions;
  • (c) optimism: noticing the goodness in self and others, identifying what is controllable, remaining wedded to reality, and challenging counterproductive beliefs
  • (d) mental agility: thinking flexibly and accurately, perspective taking, and willingness to try new strategies
  • (e) character strengths: identifying the top strengths in oneself and others, relying on one’s strengths to overcome challenges and meet goals, and cultivating a strength approach in one’s group; and
  • (f) connection: building strong relationships through positive and effective communication, empathy, willingness to ask for help, and willingness to offer help

That’s a lot – complex and interesting stuff! Plenty of material there for me to write about in small doses as we go into this near year talking about Emergency Preparedness and Resilience.
You will have noticed that I’ve highlighted ‘OPTIMISM’ in the above list and will have read its description – a very far cry from the rose-tinted and rather blind optimism you might have come across elsewhere. The aim here is not to gloss over reality but rather a bit of a case of thorough #SherlockLives -style analysis and a much wider appraisal that eventually will help towards finding new strength and direction.

So, back to the Guardian and the good side of our #UKFloods. I encourage you read the full article but in a nutshell, here it is:

  • UK wind industry had its best-ever period, setting daily, weekly and monthly records
  • heavy rains across Britain have left the water supply industry smiling, reservoirs are full
  • environment: floods and storms are important natural phenomena that help the natural environment, i.e. clear clean river gravels of silt, encouraging fish migration; some plants depend on strong winds to spread their seeds further afield…
  • wildlife: burrowing animals breed best when soggy ground makes their holes easy to dig; record numbers of wading birds..

And for us? The wild weather has been an excellent stick for environment groups and scientists to beat government with as well as raise awareness generally. Charles Tucker, chair of the National Flood Forum, nicely summed it up: “With joined-up thinking, you invest in communities to develop resilience and prepare for future flooding. You invest in a national effort, requiring the agencies responsible for flood risk management to work with local people, equipping them to tackle local flooding problems. You give local communities the tools to find solutions themselves.” Highlights by me.

In the end, it’s also all up to us – individually as well as part of a community! Have a great weekend.

Monika

1APA – American Psychological Association


Thank you for sharing and helping raise awareness for Emergency Preparedness.

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!
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Welcome to the EVAQ8 blog!

Brilliant! Finally this blog is actually happening and I for one am very excited for the chance to share this space with you. One of EVAQ8’s New Year’s resolutions was to be more ‘out there’ with you, not just on facebook and twitter. After all, not everybody is a fan or a tweet apparently. Raising awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness is part of our mission statement as the UK’s Emergency Preparedness specialist so this blog is yet another way to reach wider audiences.

So, here it is. Come on in and have a look around in this friendly, open and welcoming space.source: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8212/29927672615_c6f22581b3_b.jpgWhile the decor may be imaginary, what we talk about and share in here is very real and concerns us all:

how to become resilient and be better prepared in a fast changing world

Another way of looking at this is how to become more aware of hazards and risks and how to get trained and equipped for increased personal resilience.

Start by visiting our bustling preparedness hub just down the hall to get oriented then come back to this blog and use the side navigation and search function to find what you’re interested in. In addition, there is our quiet virtual library right next door with even more useful information and resources.

So, as this is the beginning of a New Year and I’ve already touched upon resolutions: what about yours?

How well prepared are you in case of a real emergency or disaster?

Winging it is not a plan.

SWinging it is not a plan! Make your Emergency Plan TODAY!o, what can you do?

A lot actually and that is what this entire website and blog are about: to help you be better prepared and build personal resilience.

So, bookmark us and explore. Talk to your family and friends about preparedness and make it one of your New Year’s resolutions. After all, there are few things in life more empowering and useful. Start now while there is some quiet time before this New Year really kicks in, gets going and sweeps you away. If you already have an emergency plan, then there is no better time than right now to review, update and practise it.

And it’s not just about plans, you need actual physical resources too. Luckily, you’ve come to the best place to get just that, the top navigation will get you to the right departments in a flash.

Oh – and before I forget. You’ve probably seen our About Us page but let me introduce myself: my name is Monika (@MonikaAlMufti) with a ‘K’ – yes it’s odd I know but when I tell you that I’m originally Swiss it might make sense. It has the additional advantage of serving as an ‘explanation’ for funny typos or odd turns of phrases you may encounter. I’ll be running this blog for a while and I hope you’ll find it useful as well as entertaining. Comments are always welcome, as are guest contributions so don’t hesitate to get in touch: news@evaq8.co.uk.
For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!


thank you for sharing, raising awareness for Emergency Preparedness!

Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook  follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter  join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+  discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest  explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube

PS: in case you’re wondering about the logo, the above is our original one created in 2005. The new blue and orange version was created in spring 2015 for our 10 year anniversary.

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