Hazel McHaffie

Boston bombing

Strength in adversity

What does not kill you, makes you stronger.‘  We’ve all heard it. You might even have had it fired at you, or worse still, directed it at someone else in an effort to bolster their resilience in the face of trouble. As you’ll also probably know, it was the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, who originally penned it.

But just over a year ago a bunch of US scientists from Buffalo university reckoned they could supply scientific evidence that there was more than a grain of truth in this aphorism. Not surprisingly they found that major traumatic experiences – bereavement, assault and cataclysmic natural disasters – were more damaging than beneficial. However, a certain amount of adversity was more healthy than a stress-free life.  Their theory was that negative experiences encourage the development of coping mechanisms for life and strengthen the bonds of social networks.

What d’you reckon? True for you?

Me, I’m hanging onto that thought as I grapple with various stresses in my own life at the moment. They, and competing demands on my time and energies, have been getting in the way of work this week, so it’s something of a miracle that I have any progress to report. But yes, things are moving. ManuscriptThe manuscript of my current novel, Over my Dead Body, is now finished (wahey!), I’ve agreed terms with the cover designer, and I’ve started to approach reviewers – time now to finalise those last big decisions about publication.

Life certainly has a habit of surprising us. I mean, who’d have thought bombs would disrupt a harmless marathon, whereas Baroness Thatcher’s funeral would pass off without obvious disruptive incident, in the same week. Lessons to be learned there, I’m sure.

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