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You may be asking yourself: how could this pandemic be making us stronger? Resilience may be the answer.

For the past two years, our lives have all been centered around COVID-19. It is almost impossible to escape reminders of the disease’s persistence. On the subway, most advertisements are about how to properly wear your mask, and all you hear about anymore is the latest person to test positive in your social circle.

Psychologists have looked at the effects on mental health from events such as natural disasters and terrorist attacks, and found they have extreme consequences; After 9/11, “10 percent of the population of New York City showed signs of clinical depression and almost 25 percent reported unusually high levels of alcohol intake” (Psychology Today). What researchers know so far is that the pandemic has hit us harder than any storm or terrorist attack to date. But we humans are incredibly resilient–as a species and as individuals.

To feel better, I always repeat to myself that I am living in a time that will never be forgotten, and will be studied for decades, if not longer. The pandemic has confirmed for psychologists how remarkably adaptive humans are. As I mentioned in my last blog post, “Seasonal Depression: Is it Real?” we are extraordinary at adapting to adverse environments, such as experienced in a pandemic.

As we worry about infection and social distancing, we also worry about related, downstream issues such as, “unemployment, economic uncertainty, and feelings of helplessness.” Especially telling is the effect COVID has had on our school work. With a large majority of classes switched to online, it is increasingly hard to communicate in classes and get to know our classmates and professors.

Some questions psychologists are thinking about now are: “Have people been able to sustain their resilience, or are we slowly running out of our resilience reserves? Has the shifting nature of the pandemic introduced new risk factors that have been previously overlooked?” While these questions remain unanswered, all we can do is remain diligent, distract ourselves, and keep using our special adaptive powers.

– Juliet Weschke, Writer

Source: Psychology Today

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