"Happiness is a stretch now but you can hang on to hope and optimism" as Ukraine is ravaged and COVID lives on

We’re recording this episode of The Big Middle 35 days after Russian President Vladimir Putin started his savagery in Ukraine, compounding our state of psychic trauma just as we learn to live with COVID.

The courage and resilience of Ukrainians is breathtaking. The images of the immense suffering of innocents pulverised by Russian shells in their homes and as they flee is horrifying.

I’m betting you too are finding it harder than ever to manage your seesawing feelings of fear, anxiety, helplessness, anger and grief.

The always inspirational Dr Andy Cope is back to help us find a measure of emotional balance.

How do we square the guilt we feel as we witness Putin’s barbarism from afar while striving to recover optimism and joy as COVID fades?

He says self-care is critical now. You won’t be of any benefit to anyone else if your empathic distress overwhelms you to the point of incapacity. “You can’t pour from an empty jug.”

And beware what he calls “destination addiction” – kicking your happiness into the long grass of an uncertain future in an imperfect world. “If you’re waiting for the perfect world in order to be happy.. you’ll die waiting.”

Andy’s a Doctor of Philosophy with a PhD in positive psychology or, as he prefers, human flourishing. He’s written more than a dozen books and delivers keynotes and workshops on motivation, leadership and wellbeing across the world. His flagship programme is called The Art of Being Brilliant.

And brilliant sums up how we end this episode. Andy sends us off with one of his tried and tested proper hugs. Trust me, you’ll want one!



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