This week’s blog is dedicated to my 97 year old grandmother. No, she’s not dead (yet, bless her) which is exactly why I am writing about this amazing lady. It also illustrates how the concepts of Thrive do not shield you from the reality of your situation, rather teaches you how to deal with those realities with minimum stress and anxiety.
My grandma, Denny Bailey, has just got back to her own home after a somewhat gruelling two months in hospital with a bout of pneumonia, followed by a perforated bowel. Her innate determination, fighting spirit, and hugely internal locus of control gave her the strength and courage to battle through the pain and indignity to make sure she got home.
Now, at 97 you would have thought that the fight may be too much for her frail and ageing body – the doctors would not operate on the perforated bowel because of her age. When it was diagnosed, we were all steeling ourselves for the inevitable.
But grandma wasn’t!
She knew she had a fight on her hands, but no way was she going to give up her ghost in a hospital. She wanted to be at home, sitting in her chair, and welcoming the spring once more.
Denny Bailey is what Thrive is all about. She has a deeply internal locus of control, she has very little social anxiety (anyone who can fart in polite company with such elegance and humour deserves immense respect), she has bags of self esteem – all of which shine through blue eyes which still sparkle to date with flirtatious joy.
The following extract is taken from a study by R.A.Emmons and M.E.McCullough called ‘Counting blessings versus Burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. (2003).
“A grateful response to life circumstances may be an adaptive psychological strategy and an important process by which people positively interpret everyday experiences. The ability to notice, appreciate, and savor the elements of one’s life has been viewed as a crucial determinant of well-being (Bryant, 1989; Janoff-Bulman & Berger, 2000; Langston, 1994). Frijda (1988) stated that ‘adaptation to satisfaction can be counteracted by constantly being aware of how fortunate one’s condition is and how it could have been otherwise, or was otherwise before….. enduring happiness seems possible, and can be understood theoretically”.
Now Denny is extremely aware of, and grateful for, the fact that she has enjoyed pretty rude and robust health all her life. But she has, all her life, carried herself with a sense of control and power over the direction of her life, despite her role as a non-driving stay at home housewife reliant on her husband. She has always demonstrated a steely determination, bordering on selfishness, which has carried her through many ups and downs over the years.
And it was with this determination that she understood that she had to put a lot of effort and work into getting herself strong enough again to get home. This was the reality of her situation, and no amount of sugar coating was going to change this. And in spite of the severe disappointment of several missed release dates (inconclusive last minute blood tests meant the docs wouldn’t commit to signing her off, despite her being well enough to skateboard down the corridors of the rehabilitation home) she finally made it last week – tired, weak and frail, but HOME!
If you want to find out how Thrive can help you cope better with the everyday up and down realities of life, check out www.thriveprogramme.org.