“哦, that’s easy,” Stockdale said. “The optimists.” They were the prisoners who naively told themselves they would be out by Christmas, which would come and go. Then they would pin their hopes to Easter, only to be thwarted again.
“They died of a broken heart,” Stockdale told Collins.
As many people face holidays shadowed by the pandemic — many having lost loved ones and separated from friends and family, Stockdale’s insights are valuable in navigating the next few months.
“The brutal facts are the brutal facts,” Collins told CNN. “We won’t be out of this either by Christmas.”
The Stockdale Paradox
Collins crystallized this concept as the Stockdale Paradox
, asserting that resilience in grim circumstances requires retaining
“faith that you will prevail in the end
, regardless of the difficulties.
” 同时, you must confront
“the most brutal facts of your current reality
, whatever they may be.
For many, that means acknowledging how widespread and deadly the pandemic is while also believing that vaccines will eventually be widely available and we will get through it.
One of the best ways to seek perspectives, Collins explained, is by grounding yourself in reading about past crises, and contextualizing this moment as just part of the arc of a longer lifetime.
“This is a great time to read biographies and to read histories. Others have endured longer and harder. And it shows that we can endure longer and harder,” 他说.
These narratives could include how US President Abraham Lincoln grappled with depression before leading the nation through the Civil War and US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt contending with his own polio before navigating the Great Depression and World War II
. Author Doris Kearns Goodwin covers the presidents and their crises in the
2018 书 “Leadership: In Turbulent Times
You could also pick up a book like Nelson Mandela’s
“Long Walk to Freedom
,” in which the South African Nobel Laureate details his life campaigning against apartheid and spending nearly three decades in prison before eventually become president of a more inclusive South Africa
“Everybody could benefit from the zoom out,” 柯林斯说, adding that reading works such as UK prime minister Winston Churchill’s memoirs of the Second World War could help assuage our own doubts about the human capacity for fortitude.
“There are other Stockdale movements that we live through,” 他说.
Staying resilient in difficult times
In maintaining hope for a post-pandemic future, you can harness principles from brain science, including the notion that we can feed and water our sense of hope in practical ways.
“Everything your brain is doing is in service of regulating your body
,” said Lisa Feldman Barrett
, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University in Boston and author of
“Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain
Socially connect: If you can’t gather with relatives during the holidays, start with remembering that there are ways beyond in-person gatherings to feel connected to others.
It could be over the phone or video chat, or it could be handwriting letters or thank-you cards, but reach out to others. “You can change someone’s neurochemistry around the world with just three little words,” 她说. A simple “我爱你” can go a long way.
Simulate: Just as Stockdale shored up resilience in Vietnam by never losing sight of the “end of the story,” as he said, we can tap into the brain’s ability to hope through the power of imagination.
We can find solace by taking a moment to remember the smell of a hot chocolate next to an ice rink or a grandfather’s laughter or the crisp wintry air at a past Christmas.
“We have this amazing brain that can do mental time travel,” 她说. “过去, present and future are intertwined in the brain.”
Those memories trigger some of the same positive effects as the actual experience. And so can imagining a gathering in the future when the public health crisis has lessened.
Shift attention and savor: While this year has been a time of great loss, there are still many small, singular moments worth cherishing.
“The present is an ever-shifting thing,” 巴雷特说. “You can decide to focus on some aspects of attention and ignore others.”
在这样做, you essentially shift your context. Despite what may be going on around the world, you can mindfully shift your attention to the precise way your leg feels as it rests against a chair leg.
“Your brain is constantly predicting. By changing your context you are changing how your brain reacts in the present moment,” 巴雷特说.
Getting through the holidays
The fact that we are all isolated in some way has helped lower the stigma in discussing loneliness, said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University in Provo, 犹他州.
Loneliness is a public health issue
, as evidenced by moves like the United Kingdom’s decision to appoint a loneliness minister
一些 22% of those living in the United States always or often feel lonely or isolated
, 根据一个 2018 研究 by the Kaiser Family Foundation and The Economist
While data for the whole of 2020 isn’t yet available, quarantines and lockdowns designed to stop the spread of coronavirus are a risk factor for loneliness, 她指出.
Gallup has been tracking loneliness weekly throughout the pandemic
, showing that the percentage of Americans feeling lonely has remained in the 20s since March
, with a high of
27% occurring in August
Recognizing that we’re together in a sense of isolation is key to relieving the feeling of vulnerability that might come in reaching out to someone new, Holt-Lunstad explained. Don’t be afraid to make the first move to make someone else feel cared about, 她说.
Showing gratitude toward someone else is one of the best ways to start a chain of positivity, and create a kind of “upward spiral” helping to direct us toward greater connection.
“You don’t have to be in the same room as someone to tell them that you love them,” 柯林斯说. “Who in your life have you not told that you loved?” Now is as good a time as any to tell them.