What if my town or yours sustained a terrorist attack early tomorrow morning? Would you and I freak out in surprise and fall apart? Or would we be emotionally fit enough to behave in constructive, responsible ways?
As an advocate of sustainability, I believe in fitness of all kinds. For instance, I work at being physically fit and financially fit. My master’s degree, though, is in counseling psychology, and I see emotional fitness as the crucial fiber at the core of our lives.
Emotional fitness – NOT the endless pursuit of feeling good — needs more of our attention. On all sides of the political fence we are overly focused on military responses to terrorism. But the strongest military in the world cannot make us emotionally fit i.e., able to deal well with adversity. That’s our own job.
It’s knowable and predictable that bad things will happen, both natural disasters like earthquakes and manmade disasters like terrorism. Realistically, we should expect that the 9-11 attacks will be repeated in some way – and our lives and economy will be disrupted, maybe severely.
On the concrete level, do we have savings in the bank? Emergency food, water and first-aid supplies? Emotionally, are we fit enough to deal and cope constructively when a bad thing happens, rather than fall apart or freak out with surprise – when there’s really no excuse for being surprised?