00:09 GMT08 August 2020
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    Nations Restart Economies as Search for COVID-19 Vaccine Continues (139)
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    On Tuesday, coronavirus cases in the United States rose by more than forty thousand in one day. This in the past week the number of positive tests has surged, and as a result, sixteen states have paused or reversed their reopening plans.

    Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s leading virologist, appeared in front of the US Senate and declared that he would not be surprised if the country reached 100,000 new coronavirus infections per day.

    But how will America cope with the reality of this prolonged surge and how will American youth adopt under the prolonged period of coronavirus?

    Keith Bellizzi, professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut, shares his views on the resiliency of the American people in the face of adversity.

    Sputnik: So can you explain what resiliency is?

    Keith Bellizzi: So, there is some variation in the definitions but there's general agreement that resilience is the ability to adapt to adversity or a stressful life event. Уven though this concept is gaining in popularity, particularly due to the coronavirus, research on resilience has a rich history dating back to the 1950s.

    Some of those earlier studies focused on children growing up in high-risk environments, such as having a parent with a drug or alcohol addiction, a history of family violence, or growing up in poverty. But more contemporary research looks at how we adapt to traumatic life events like cancer, natural disasters, terrorism and now even pandemics.

    Sputnik: Are you born resilient or can you learn to become resilient?

    Keith Bellizzi: Some researchers will suggest that resilience is trait-like. So that is something that is hardwired into one's personality. And others say that it can be learned and acquired later in life.

    I've spent almost two decades examining characteristics of resilient individuals in response to adverse life events, in an effort to teach these skills to those that may be struggling.

    Sputnik: How can people build up their resiliency?

    Keith Bellizzi: Any life stressor to some degree is out of our control. If we think about the current pandemic... the world is challenged with right now, we ask ourselves questions such as, how long will the pandemic last? When can we go back to school or work?

    When can we stop social isolation or wearing face coverings? All very valid questions, but they're also unknowns and uncertainties and we don't want to get stuck ruminating about them.

    What we know from research is that when resilient people face adversity, they tend to look for the good amid the stress. So they engage with controllable aspects of their lives like family, personal health and giving back to the community.

    They develop a healthy support system of resilient role models. They focus on people who lift them up, and they tend to stay away from individuals who are inflexible or fatalistic about the stressful situation.

    I would also note that self-care is critical, physically, mentally and spiritually. So we know from research that physical activity promotes not only health but your mood, and about the current situation if the gym is closed, to try things that you can do in your house or neighbourhood like yoga, hiking, biking and walking, meditation, and mindfulness exercises help you stay centred. A quick Google search can yield numerous free apps that teach how to regulate emotions and practice mindfulness.

    Sputnik: Are there any positive outcomes of dealing with adversity?

    Keith Bellizzi: Well, we know from research that adversity does have the potential to bring about positive changes as well. The activist Malcolm X once said: there's nothing better than adversity every defeat every heartbreak, every loss contains its own seed. its own lesson on how to improve the next time.

    Some individuals who have overcome challenging life events do find positive changes, such as a new purpose in life, improved relationships, a stronger appreciation for life, and positive changes in healthy lifestyle behaviours.

    And decades of research supports this finding that people can find something positive out of a seemingly negative event. And there's a caveat because that's not to say there aren't negative consequences, but rather they coexist with positive aspects.

    Sputnik: How can we teach children to become more resilient?

    Keith Bellizzi: So in the Western world, our society's parenting cultures really set up to make sure our children are comfortable, and because of that many children are ill-equipped to handle life's unexpected, unavoidable setbacks.

    I truly believe that we all possess the potential to grow as human beings when we are put in uncomfortable situations. This is the pandemic I believe is a teachable moment for our children. Showing them how to successfully adapt to stressful events can inoculate them when faced with future crises.

    Don't use catastrophizing terms when discussing the virus with them. Be honest about the uncertainty. Remember, it's okay to say you don't have all the answers. We could teach them that all emotions are normal.

    The trick is how you manage them. And from this children learn how to tolerate uncertainty and develop problem-solving strategies, and the most critical is to model resiliency. So our children watch and hear what we do and say, the same behaviours.

    So what you want to see in our children should be reflected in how you respond to stressful life events. So be consistent and remember, resilient kids, become resilient adults.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Nations Restart Economies as Search for COVID-19 Vaccine Continues (139)
    children, coronavirus, COVID-19, U.S
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