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  • Writer's pictureRene

2020 Silver Linings

Chances are 2020 was a challenge for you in one way or another. From a pandemic to murder hornets (yes- that's right, murder hornets. Look it up. It was a strange year!) - we have struggled to remain positive and hopeful. Decisions about if and when, how and where, to visit with family and friends was an immediate concern. Listening to a full year of political upheaval and extremely negative social media (sometimes by people we love) was an emotional drain. Travel and family vacations almost completely cancelled for a full year made us feel disconnected. Even more devastating, so many people were sick, alone, and passed without loved ones at the bedside.

Yes, 2020 was a struggle. And 2021 will continue to be a struggle for a while. But we are resilient.

Humanity has survived by being able to find ways to, if not bounce back, at least stand and take steps forward. Resiliency requires a sense of hope that defines who we are and who we'll continue to be. Yet, there is no denying that its tough to be resilient when so many things hit so close to home, especially any kind of loss. So to be resilient in such challenging circumstances takes an intention and a shifting toward a positive bias, or outlook, while acknowledging the pain.

How do we do this? One way is to use what psychologists call a 'benefit appraisal'. In other words, we actively seek the silver lining or benefit to our circumstances as a way to help us shift toward that positive bias. For example, this may sound like:

· "Covid has been really difficult! The kids have missed their sports, but we've certainly enjoyed having more family dinners and playing board games together. This has really helped us to grow as a family".

· "I've been really struggling so much with the conflicting opinions and negativity on social media about this presidential election, but I'm grateful that people are paying attention to their civic duty and thinking about what's important to them".

Finding the silver lining doesn't mean to disregard the impact of all these things that are happening, but research has shown that when we use more positive appraisals of these events, we are better able to hang on to hope, take more positive actions to cope, and even learn to bounce back more easily next time.

So 2020- you may have been rough, but even in darkness we will find the silver lining.

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