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  • Writer's pictureDr. Francis Battisti & Dr. Helen Battisti

The Zone - Volume 80

In thinking about how people cope with the strains of the pandemic and other major crisis, we reflect on how past generations have survived their pandemics, wars and challenges. There is much to be learned and adapted from the lessons of these generations. As we gain new insights about our own resilient patterns and practices and infuse them with insights gained from past generations, we can pay it forward to assist future generations meeting their crisis.

While there are many major crisis issues and events that we can draw knowledge from, we have chosen to reflect on the resilience of people from the Great Depression and World War II.

From 2001-2005, Dr. Glenn Schiraldi, an expert in post-traumatic stress disorder, interviewed 41 WWII Combat veterans, men, and women from throughout the United States, whose lives had been characterized by their resilience in the face of trauma and loss. He shares these insights in his book, WWII Survivor - Lessons in Resilience. Several useful themes were drawn from these interviews starting with these survivors who were clear in their lives’ purpose. They knew why they were involved in the war and the life they wanted to return to. Their sense of character was also clear. They each had decided what actions they would or would not take so that they had no regrets following the war. They had a clear moral code of not following immoral orders and to be faithful to loved ones. They also came from solid upbringings where strong adults taught about values of personal responsibility, respect for others and the wisdom gained from hard work. He also asked the survivors about the two most important lessons they learned during the trying times. Their personal philosophical and spiritual strengths offered them an internal comfort during these times and the resilient mindset that they had learned throughout their lives prior to the war.

It is important to note that two of the key themes that came from these interviews, are two of the key points that were identified in the Blue Zone research, strong purpose of living and strong family connections.

Another major life altering event was the Great Depression of the 1920’s. The entire world was on their knees for over 10 years. Total economic collapse and despair was experienced by many. Since this was such a prolonged event, individuals literally needed to change basic survival skills to endure during this time. These approaches were well honed by this generation and following the Great Depression, many of these skills and resources were continued, even during better times.

11 Life Lessons from the Great Depression Everyone Should Learn, taken from

  • Never Use Something Just Once.

  • Learn More Than One Trade.

  • Make Friends with Your Neighbors.

  • You Might Have to Get Your Hands Dirty.

  • Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket.

  • Learn the Difference Between Want and Need.

  • Always Keep a Sharp Eye for Good Deals.

  • Protect Your family at all Costs.

  • It’s Okay to Embrace Little Escapes.

  • Get Creative to Keep Your Cupboards Full.

  • Remember to Focus on What Really Matters.

These are phrases and words that we may have heard from our parents or grandparents and we may have heard these phrases stated differently today. Whenever we are looking to create our future, it is important to also review the past and take the best of the past into the future with us.


Key Takeaways

  • An appreciation of history can offer may meaningful insights.

  • Crisis situations can help cultivate a growth mindset.

  • Be patient and learn from others.

Best Practices

  • Revisit established practices and reset expectations.

  • Review the above mentioned 11 Lessons Learned and see which ones offer you the greatest insight.

  • Know that the crisis path is well worn.

Things to Limit

  • Believing that everything that is worthwhile started today.

  • That the worst is yet to come.

  • Thinking that we are all doomed.


Quote of the Week

“Life is divided into three terms, -that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and form the present, to live better in the future.”

~William Wadsworth


According to Dr. George Bonanno, a psychologist who studies the aftermath of hurricanes, epidemics and other life-threatening issues, “Two thirds of people follow a resilience trajectory and maintain relatively stable psychological and physical health, about 25 percent struggle temporarily with psychopathology such as depression or posttraumatic stress disorder and then recover and 10 percent suffer lasting psychological distress.”

We are living in a laboratory that can teach us much about the world and ourselves. Keep your eyes open to these times and learn all that you can. We will need it to create our tomorrows.

Be well,

The paraDocs

Check our Welcome Greeting on YouTube

The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P and Chief Academic Officer and Dr. Helen E. Battisti PhD, RDN, CDN, Chief Nutrition Officer, at SpNOD, Health Promotion Specialist, Research and Clinical Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and former Assistant Professor.

We have developed "The ZONE", because that is exactly where you want to be during this pandemic. A place of focused attention to doing exactly what needs to be done to get you to where you need to be. The purpose of The Zone is to provide a nationally distributed weekly mental-health and nutrition tip-sheet during times of change.

If you would like to get copies of The ZONE that you may have missed or if you know someone that would like to start receiving The ZONE, please signup today... It's free and you can unsubscribe anytime.

Permission is given to share with others.

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