A Prescription for Vitamins O and R

Harnessing Optimism and Resilience

Wouldn’t it be great if we could bottle optimism, as Vitamin O, and resilience, as Vitamin R, for daily doses? Whether you are recovering from a heart incident, COVID-19, or just trying to stay healthy during this pandemic, optimism and resilience are needed in generous doses every day.

In 2008, after an angioplasty and a stent at age 45, I was overwhelmed with worry. Why did I self-diagnosis myself all night as suffering from GERD or gallstones when in fact, I was having a heart attack?  How could I think I was too young to have a heart problem? What if it happens again?

Ultimately, optimism and resilience got me back on my feet again. I convinced myself I would not miss out on life and slowly, I began to believe it. Overall, I’ve been living healthier, taking my medications and working hard at managing stress. I traveled to The Mayo Clinic in 2010 for the WomenHeart Science and Leadership Symposium where I learned I was not alone in my fears and was trained to become a WomenHeart Champion. Optimism and resilience pulled me through my mental block.

Please, can I buy some vitamin O and R at the nearest drugstore to combat the mental strain of the coronavirus? Since this virus went viral, I lost my job and most of us are living under a “stay at home” order.  My husband is working from home. Our daughters were abruptly sent home from college and the Peace Corps.  I feel like my new job is in food service and the skin on my hands is withering from so much soap and water! While many of us worry about picking up the virus, some are seriously ill or have lost their lives. Hand washing and staying home seem insufficient against this microscopic killer.

Again, I find myself digging deep to find optimism and resilience. Slowly, I’m starting to realize that being at home means there’s time to prepare heart-healthy meals and experiment with new recipes. We are reconnecting with our daughters. I can’t remember when I had the time to read or do crossword puzzles. I’ve been outside walking in pleasant weather. If our courageous healthcare workers can show up for work during this pandemic, I can show up for the unpleasant task of job hunting in this economically stressed time.

This is not an easy time for the world. Yet, I am confident we can find ways to focus on the positive despite the fear this pandemic is unleashing in our society. Whatever it takes, optimism and resilience, Vitamin O and R, will help us pull through this crisis and any others we might encounter in the future.

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