“Dr. Beck, I really need something to cheer me up this weekend.”

Luckily, when one of my patients mentioned this, I had already been wondering which activities could cheer someone up as they struggle with stress.

For the last few days, I have been thinking about this great article that considers how reading science fiction can build resilience in kids. At one level, it feels a little silly, but when you read the article, and think about the great science fiction novels or stories you have read, didn’t these stories help you to understand complex concepts? If you think about the best science fiction stories, they promote counterintuitive thinking. The best science fiction stories also stretch your creative brain so that the ways complicated problems can be solved increase. In a time when our world is facing a very frightening problem, stories that help us to see new possibilities can be a comfort.

We also live in a time when we can witness wonders that only a few years ago were no more than science fiction…like vaccines. Aren’t we all dreaming of a COVID-19 vaccine? That vaccine would give us back some of the life we are all missing.

But tomorrow afternoon, everyone on earth can witness on television or online one of the most uplifting scientific experiences. We can watch a rocket take off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, the first commercial flight bound for the International Space Station. Tomorrow at 4:33 pm EDT, the Spacex Falcon will take off from Launch Pad 39A.

News stories today of space travel can seem commonplace, until you watch a rocket take off. As the preparations roll out, as you listen to the countdown, excitement and drama build. When Jules Verne wrote From the Earth to the Moon in 1865, space travel was a far-fetched dream for humans. (Who knows what was happening on other planets in 1865?) Take Verne’s book out of the library and read it if you have time. You’ll be amazed at how it predicted many aspects of the 1968 moon landing.

If you read Verne’s book and watch a rocket take off, how can you not be cheered up? The proof that the future is bright and that it will all work out is right there in front of your eyes!

Like my patient who needed cheering up, your eyes will light up and you will have an instantaneous positive reaction:

“Awesome!”

(This image of the Spacex Falcon is from the NASA website.)

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