Terror attacks in Paris and California expose modern society’s lack of resilience.

The terrorist attacks that occurred in Paris on November 13 shattered the complacency of the French lifestyle. A few weeks later, a savage attack erupted in San Bernardino, California, further exposing the vulnerability of Western societies.

Dealing with terrorism and, in particular, with the frightening emergence of the ruthless Islamic State organization, also known as ISIS, will preoccupy the attention of world leaders for some time.

But there is a larger lesson to be gained from this and other recent crises. Put very simply: our complex global society lacks resilience.

What do I mean by that? Everything from our vulnerability to power failures to our overreaction of vilifying people who merely “look like” the perpetrators of violent acts, an overreaction demonstrated by Donald Trump’s recent call to close our borders to Muslims.

The good news is that we can improve our resilience. First let’s examine our society’s vulnerabilities.

Economic vulnerability

Terrorism is just one of many global threats that we face.

Our economy is highly vulnerable to a range of unexpected crises such as the 2011 tsunami that destroyed Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power station, causing costly delays in the electronics, motor vehicles and other industries.

Since 2001, the US has endured a series of disruptions, including hurricanes, power blackouts, oil spills, bridge collapses, gas-line explosions and aircraft accidents.

The giant reinsurance company, Munich Re, reports a sharp increase in the number of natural disasters during the past 32 years – a trend that is linked to climate change.

Are we adequately prepared for the next catastrophe, even though we cannot predict what it will be?

Warning: turbulence ahead

The root cause of our vulnerability is the structure of the global economy: highly interconnected, complex and filled with turbulence.

Major disasters can occur unexpectedly, and even minor incidents can cascade into significant human and financial losses. Emerging pressures such as climate change and urbanization will only intensify the potential for extreme events and severe disruptions. When a catastrophe occurs, we rush to aid the victims, but the memory quickly fades and we return to business as usual, dealing with more immediate financial or political pressures.

Could we do a better job at anticipating and responding to unforeseen events?

Although businesses, communities and government agencies have developed elaborate “risk management” systems to detect vulnerabilities, this approach has an inherent weakness. It cannot protect against unidentified risks.

In an increasingly complex and volatile global economy, it is virtually impossible to predict and analyze all possible disruptions. Rather than resisting the inevitable waves of change, we need to embrace change and learn to ride the waves.

Learning to embrace change

The little poppy that could. Plant street via http://www.shutterstock.com

In my book Resilient by Design, I argue that to embrace change requires going beyond the traditional approach of minimizing unwanted disruptions and recovering normal operations as quickly as possible. We must treat each surprise event as a learning experience, and adapt accordingly.

Risk management makes sense in a stable environment with predictable events, but in today’s more complex risk landscape – the new normal – it is inadequate for dealing with fast-moving, unfamiliar threats that may cascade into disasters.

The most damaging disruptions are often a result of rare, “black swan” events that were never anticipated. Who would have guessed, for example, that a volcano in Iceland would ground virtually all air traffic in Western Europe?

The US government and many private companies have begun to study the resilience of our economic systems, urban communities and the infrastructures that support them.

A particular concern is adaptation to the emerging effects of climate change, including extreme weather and rising sea levels. Rather than responding to crises after the fact, we are beginning to design dynamic systems that are better prepared to anticipate crises and more capable of coping in the aftermath. For example, package delivery companies such as UPS use real-time monitoring systems to quickly reroute deliveries in the event of a transportation disruption.

Resilience – the capacity to survive, adapt and flourish in the face of disruptive change – is a basic characteristic of all living systems, from individual creatures to entire ecosystems. Most people are psychologically resilient in the face of setbacks, ranging from diseases to divorces or job layoffs.

Human communities are remarkably resilient, and many cities have been completely rebuilt after catastrophic events. In contrast, engineered systems such as machines, buildings and industrial supply chains are generally more “brittle” and prone to failure or collapse.

Designing for resilience

Brittleness is not inevitable. It is a fundamental design flaw.

Mechanistic systems based on logical rules cannot cope with events that the designers failed to anticipate. We have much to learn from the natural world, where resilience is seen everywhere from cells to organisms to entire ecosystems.

Today, innovative companies are learning to behave more like living systems, sensing, responding and adapting to change. They view resilience as a source of competitive advantage and are supplementing traditional risk management methods with adaptive processes and technologies.

For example, IBM has worked with the city of Rotterdam to deploy advanced cyber-based methods for flood detection and control, enabling the city to cope with the increasing intensity of flooding events. And researchers at The Ohio State University have developed a supply chain resilience assessment tool that helps to spot a company’s areas of vulnerability and identify corresponding capabilities that need to be strengthened.

Resilience capabilities are quite diverse, ranging from physical design of operations to information technologies to training of employees.

One basic approach to resilience is reducing the concentration and complexity of a system: for example, by building smaller-scale, distributed facilities instead of a single centralized facility. Global giants like Dow Chemical are exploring a range of supply chain resilience strategies, from increased flexibility of transportation modes to early warning systems that sense and respond quickly to surprise events.

And next-generation nuclear plants will have safety features that eliminate the chance of a meltdown. We hope.

Leveraging the human factor

The above research has shown that human intelligence and creativity are among the most powerful tools available to build resilience against unforeseen threats and enable both companies and communities to flourish.

Clearly the most challenging threat that we face today is the rise of violent extremism. Terrorist organizations, with their decentralized structure and covert operations, are inherently more resilient than the traditional armed forces deployed by nation-states.

Despite huge investments by the US and its allies in counterintelligence, we are still ineffective in “asymmetric” warfare. Overwhelming force may achieve temporary victories, but cunning and subterfuge eventually prevail.

To defeat terrorism, we may need to leverage the human factor – and its inherent resilience – by taking advantage of citizen involvement, social media and other nontraditional tools.

For example, the surveillance work of intelligence agencies can be complemented by conscious public efforts to promote inclusiveness, avoid alienation of minorities and reach out to potential dissidents. This type of adaptation seems more promising than trying to shut our borders to entire classes of immigrants.

In this age of turbulence, resilience has become a prerequisite for continued prosperity. Simply going back to business as usual – as we’ve too often done – is not the best strategy. Rather than bouncing back, we need to bounce forward.

With Courtesy of The Conversation

 

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Terror victims study proves our resilience.

Floral tributes outside the Bataclan Theatre in memory of the victims of the Paris attacks1

Floral tributes outside the Bataclan Theatre in memory of the victims of the Paris attacks

Patricia Casey

On Friday, November 13 2015, a series of terror attacks erupted in Paris. They were mercilessly launched on people gathered at various social outlets and events in order to maximise the carnage. A football match was the first target in this co-ordinated killing spree. This was followed by shootings at restaurants and cafes and finally a metal concert in the Bataclan Theatre. Hostages were taken there also. A total of 130 lost their lives and over 4,000 were injured, almost 100 seriously. These were the most serious attacks on the city since WWII. Isis claimed responsibility.

It is no surprise that the impact of these attacks on the psyche of those involved, both directly as victims and less directly as observers, has been studied in depth by psychiatrists and psychologists, as have attacks in other locations. The London bombing and 9/11 attacks in New York have both generated large volumes of research information. In the April issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, a paper exploring the impact of the Paris attacks, headed by Dr Stephanie Vandentorren, of the French Public Health Agency, has been published.

Two groups were studied. First responders were fire officers, rescue workers and so on exposed during the first 12 hours after the events. The second group were witnesses – those who were themselves under threat of being killed, held hostage or injured or had seen somebody in that position, or heard of a close relative in that predicament. These could be either directly exposed or have witnessed them from their homes. Seeing these events only on the media did not constitute exposure. Various face-to-face structured interviews were administered and over 400 people were interviewed.

Among rescue workers, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was diagnosed in 3pc and an anxiety disorder in 14pc. Among civilian witnesses, more than 15pc were significantly distressed, 25pc had possible PTSD, while 18pc were diagnosed definitively with it, and 10pc had depression. As expected, those indirectly threatened had lower levels than close relatives of victims, and the highest rates of mental health problems was in those directly threatened.

Almost half of civilians had more than six months treatment for a mental health problem, compared with a third of first responders. However, most had returned to work six months after the attack. These results show that first responders had lower rates of mental health problems than civilians and they required less professional help.

This study shows that people witnessing traumatic events are more vulnerable to mental health problems than are first responders. It may be that the training those in rescue and first response teams receive helps them withstand the distress of their direct involvement. It is also likely that if they had concerns about mental health difficulties developing after the attacks, they pro-actively sought help as a preventative measure and needed it for a shorter period.

During their training, they will have been made aware of the help that it available should they ever require it. Civilians on the other hand may feel less entitlement to such help and may defer seeking it until their distress is much more incapacitating.

The positive finding, that all but 6pc returned to work, shows the power of healing. Similar results were described following the 9/11 bombings and the London attacks. Either time or therapy seems to have benefited those who were suffering in the aftermath. This surely proves the resilience that human beings are endowed with, enabling them to deal with major traumas and to emerge from the quagmire of distress that engulfed them.

Resilience is determined by several factors. The personality of each individual is probably the single most important element, while the presence of support from family, friends and the community is next. Having a person to talk to is undoubtedly beneficial. The scientific literature on resilience has been developing in recent years and it also describes the value of positive coping, religious coping, having a sense of purpose in life, and altruism.

It is comforting to know we are not long-term victims of the events that befall us. Rather, we are strong and can emerge from the suffering of terrible events with more compassion and a better understanding of life.

With Courtesy of The Indipendent.ie

8 Keys to Build Up Your Resilience. Coping with PTSD. Author: Me :)

Hi, I am the author of my new baby born book titled « PTSD Beautiful Trauma », a memoir of my journey coping with PTSD, after Paris attacks (2015-2016). My workplace was involved in both attacks, January and November. After Charlie Hebdo’s board office’s attack and the printing house’s owner held hostage my hotel was the theater …

Source: 8 Keys to Build Up Your Resilience

Image result for love yourself journaling

Magazine Article (french): Resilience.

This is a number one topic on PTSD and trauma recover. As soon as I can, I’ll find the way to translate the 8 keys to build up your Strenght. I am actually quite busy on my last editing of my paperback to put on Amazon for my Italian camerades.

The pictures of this article are smashing. Btw during this path to recover I have often felt like underwater ; overwhelmed gives you the right emotional feeling that you can’t breath properly and some dark force is pushing you down to the abyss.

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Until you become a neptunian and begin to swim like a beautiful, strong yet graceful Mermaid.

For the side story, I bought this one in Bologna Airport, on my last trip back home to visit my family. Shells come from Adriatic Sea. Except the ammonite, which I found on the deep waters of the internet lol.

It goes without saying that Neptune is the king of the Subconscious (Mind) World. Did you guess?

Shells as christian symbolism stay for “listen”, listen to your Inner Voice.

L'immagine può contenere: cibo e spazio al chiuso

Trauma Survivors.

uniq

Basil, I am planting basil on my mini balcon.

And I  just found this article about empathy, and resilience, and the real revolution we are witnessing. We are living a time of changing. And you know what? I have been attending a class of Excel and Word this week, some basic class, to get started with those beautiful softwares which are like white magic to me.

We were a group of people who are trying to requalify them selves in order to keep our job after our “accident”. Me, after burn out, and inability to work as receptionist anymore. The other girls were especially physically concerned, one is a dancer and broke her bones training, the other got leucemia, and she is recovering, but still smoking, another one has got the handicap status but dunno why exactly, she comes from food and beverage, and she hates sitting in front of a pc, typing all day.

This made me realise just one simple thing that I would like to share with you: we, as Trauma Survivors, or PTSD sufferers with no Trauma, are the living proof that we are all different. Despite what this Consumers Society wants to promote ( and fuck** Yes, I bought those Adidas too) .

PTSD are a self-defense reaction of our body and mind who tell us that we are not well, and the message sent is quite clear. And not only, we have been told that we need help, we need each other, but also that we need our Self, our Self Love and Worth.

Yes, tonight, planting my basil I wanted to tell you exatcly how I feel it.

We are a living proof of human beings Uniqueness. The fact that we find in this Community of Mental Health disease (we are just Sensitive people), it’s even more evidence. No one of us has got the same story, but we share the same symptoms.

Let’s celebrate this Uniqueness altogether.

Basil is a very sacred plant and she attracts love, protection and wealth. Put a basil on your flat entrance or at the windows and you’ll attract good vibes.

I appreciate you are here.

xx

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