How can two people experience the same stressful event and react in incredibly different ways? What explains the difference between stress thrivers and non-thrivers?
Research shows that some individuals possess a set of resilience skills and traits that allows them to flourish in response to stress.
“Resilience is what gives people the psychological strength to cope with stress. They understand that setbacks happen and sometimes life is hard and painful. They still experience the emotional pain, grief, and sense of loss that comes after a tragedy, but their mental outlook allows them to work through such feelings and recover.” Source: Living Well
Building Stress Resilience
Stress hardiness is a pathway to resilience – the ability to remain healthy and strong during stressful and challenging times.
Hardy individuals transform stressful circumstances into growth opportunities by reframing adversity and taking direct action in response to stress.
Bouncing Back from Adversity
In the video below, I describe the 3 key components of stress hardiness:
– Focusing on the things you can change and letting go of the things you can’t.
E.g., “You hold the key.”
– Reframing stressful challenges as opportunities for growth.
E.g., “Strength Training.”
– Envisioning a higher purpose above and beyond the immediate stressor.
E.g., “Ask yourself why you started.”
Each component a critical factor in cultivating the ability to bounce back and thrive under pressure.
Can Stress Hardiness be Learned?
Yes! Research demonstrates that not only can stress hardiness be learned, it has wide-ranging applications in health and wellness, including:
1. Lowering test anxiety in high school students.
2. Reducing perceived stress in college students.
3. Protecting against war-related stress in Army Reserve forces.
4. Improving resilience and coping skills in stressed out professionals.
Related Post: What's your stress threshold?