DON’T STOP BELIEVING
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.