We are capable of more than what we probably think we are capable of sustaining. Researchers Aknin, Zaki and Dunn conducted a review of close to 1,000 research studies examining hundreds of thousands of people across nearly 100 countries and they came to a conclusion:
We are remarkably adept at finding solutions to what might appear to be insurmountable problems.
THE MENTAL HEALTH CHECK
You’ve probably heard that the coronavirus pandemic triggered a worldwide mental-health crisis. This narrative took hold almost as quickly as the virus itself. In the spring of 2020, article after article—even an op-ed by one of us—warned of a looming psychological epidemic.
As clinical scientists and research psychologists have pointed out, the coronavirus pandemic has created many conditions that might lead to psychological distress: sudden, widespread disruptions to people’s livelihoods and social connections; millions bereaved; and the most vulnerable subjected to long-lasting hardship. A global collapse in well-being has seemed inevitable.
Lara Aknin, Jamil Zaki and Elizabeth Dunn, The Atlantic (July 2021)
Every now and then I come across a message which reminds me about a focus I have in life — understanding. Remembering to ask the question WHY. There’s a reason for the behavior in front of you — for the way someone is presenting to you. THE POWER OF WHY was created with that mindset as its focus. It’s this framework that reminds me I have a choice on how I respond to others — that I can choose to be kind, inquisitive and compassionate regardless of what I’m observing.
Everyone has a story.
Everyone is living in their own context.
So, the purpose of this particular blog post is to remind us of that message — seek to understand and be kind. When I saw a recent social media post quoting the late Robin Williams, it resonated with me and I wanted to share it with you.
It’s a personal goal of mine — some days I do really well — some days I’m not as successful. But I keep aiming for the target.
Your heart is pounding. Your palms are sweating. Your stomach is doing flips. And then there are your pervasive thoughts — as you feel these physical symptoms your mind is spinning with worry and fear.
Now picture this as if you were a child. Your life experiences may be minimal. Your ability to be resilient may also be limited. And you are fearful.
I’m not a psychologist. Not a therapist nor a counsellor. Nope — I’m not a mental health professional. My background is a science teacher who’s now a Superintendent — certainly not a trained expert on mental health or anxiety. But, it’s something I’ve been learning about.