Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Dynamics of Optimism, Anxiety and Coping Strategies in Residents of Vishakhapatnam Affected by Hudhud Cyclone: An Ex-Post Facto Study

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Dynamics of Optimism, Anxiety and Coping Strategies in Residents of Vishakhapatnam Affected by Hudhud Cyclone: An Ex-Post Facto Study

Article excerpt

In October 2014, the east coast of India was shaken by the Hudhud cyclone, known to be one of the most terrific of its kind. Hudhud caused massive damage to the city of Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. In the history of 515 cyclones recorded in Asia since 1891, Hudhud was the third highest in its force and magnitude. The cyclone made its way through this city with enormous destruction to the city and the neighboring portion of land from every perspective. It took the city on a roll with heavy winds taking on trees, breakdown of buildings, loss of lives, plenty injuries that left the city in chaos. The cyclone witnessed flying objects, heavy winds, flying trees and a lot more commotion that followed. Houses built near the coast were blown away with the winds, individuals were killed, and the city was flooded. The city had no electricity for about 3 to 4 days due to the destruction of electric poles, no telephone lines due to the damage of telephone lines. Normal livelihood was disturbed to a massive extent and the city came to a halt from every dimension (work, school, communication) till the natures' hustle settled. The loss came to an extent where it was needed to supply food and shelter the ones who had lost their houses blown by the cyclonic winds. Such a disaster had to have had a painfully unforgettable experience of the cyclone that left the entire country dazed at the nature's ferocity.

The very thought of a disturbance or a disaster awakens a researcher with a number of ideas. These ideas are variables that could be studied in the population that has had a devastating experience like no other like for example the recent cyclone Hudhud in Vishakhapatnam. In a case like this, it is thought provoking to study the optimism in the population that has gone through such a tragedy. Optimism is a positive approach about the coming future and to open doors to favorable outcome in situations of life (Scheier & Carver 1992). Optimism is an inclination to make lemonade out of lemons, and to then see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. It's a commendable quality; one that positively affects mental and physical health. Optimism is a custom of positive thought that includes the certainty that you are responsible for your own happiness, and that more good things instead of bad will constantly happen to you. Optimists choose to believe that every negative or bad event has something good and resourceful following it.

With optimism, Anxiety is also an arresting variable to see in the population affected by the cyclone. "The abstract sense of an individual being in danger is usually known as Anxiety" (Comer, 2010). Anxiety can also be defined as the emotional responses to expectancies of threats to security or integrity of body or self. (Kirmaver, 2001). Anxiety is an emotion characterised by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, regularly accompanied by nervous behaviour, such as patrolling back and forth, somatic complaints and contemplation (Seligman, Walker, & Rosenhan). Anxiety is an emotion that follows feelings of tension, worried irrational thoughts and some physical changes like an increase in the blood pressure (APA). Anxiety is a response or a reaction from multiple systems of the human body. As far as it is known, Anxiety is an exclusively human experience. Anxiety occurs in post-traumatic events in which an individual anticipates and imagines himself to have some threat in the future. Anxiety is of two types; Trait Anxiety and State Anxiety. The former refers to a general level of stress that is characteristic of an individual, a trait that is related to personality. Trait anxiety varies rendering to how individuals have accustomed themselves to counter to and manage the stress. What causes anxiety and stress in one person may not generate any emotion in another. People with high levels of this type of anxiety are often quite easily stressed and anxious. State anxiety is characterised by a state of heightened emotions that develop in response to a fear or danger of a specific situation. …

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