Emotional resilience can be the difference between enduring a longterm survival challenge, and succumbing to one.

LEAVE OPTIMISM TO the rubes; it’s not as helpful in a survival situation as you might think. According to Steven Southwick, a professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, the overly optimistic can be just as dangerous as the pessimisti­c: They tend to overestima­te their abilities and underestim­ate hazards.

Resilience comes from realistic optimism: acknowledg­ing the negatives, then forcing yourself to look at the positives. According to Southwick, survivors of long-term trauma tend to be able to set aside their fear: They see it as a helpful guide rather than its own emergency.

To get to that point, Southwick recommends acknowledg­ing your fear, then using positive self-talk to keep up your morale (and temper your stress response). “Tell yourself, ‘I’m a lot stronger than I think. I have a reservoir of resilience and I’m going to call on that,’” Southwick says. “Stay positive. Imagine that you’re going to make it out.” Do that and you just might.

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