Glass is Half-Full
Residents, staff and families have recently dealt with hurricanes Irene and Lee and the uninvited flood waters that came as part of the experience. Residents were evacuated to Chestnut Hill Hospital in the wee hours, and in the end everyone was safe and sound after the first storm. The bad weather was perhaps a stressful, tiring, difficult ordeal, but how people felt afterwards depended upon whether one sees a glass half-full vs. half-empty. In my interactions with some of the residents and staff, how they experienced the event varied from seeing it as traumatic; others found it disruptive; others were relieved; and yet others were grateful for being helped. There was bonding among people who shared a common event and a common cause of working together to avoid catastrophe.
Optimism was part of the emotional recovery for many of the residents and staff. Hope is part of being optimistic. Technically, optimism and hope lives deep within our brain. The hippocampus is crucial to our memory while the amygdala helps us process emotions and generate optimism. They both have interplay with the prefrontal cortex of our brain that is responsible for planning and goal setting. All of these brain function processes were operating during and after the storm. Clean up from the flooding was needed. Planning and goals were set resulting in some changes at Arbor Terrace at Chestnut Hill. Life, as some of us know it, had to be modified as a result of the storm. How we feel about it greatly depends upon being optimistic and hopeful that things will turn out ok. The glass is half-full! ☺
Gary Kozick, LCSW
Originally appeared in the Arbor Terrace: A Senior Living Residence monthly newsletter, October 2011