“It’s not stress that kills us. It’s our reaction to it,”
~ Hans Selye
“Stress” has become an ingrained buzz word in our vocabulary.
Everywhere you look, you’re being told that stress is killing you. Yes, it’s an accepted fact that stress can be harmful. But don’t drown in all that hype. You might think there’s nothing to do about it. How could you? It’s lurking everywhere.
The bills won’t stop coming; traffic jams won’t get better, and you’ll never get more hours in the day for those lined-up chores.
Listening to anyone who has achieved success, you hear a drama about someone who had to rebound from setback after setback until “Happy End.” Yes, it’s true. These individuals sailed with ease through a persistent difficult life – a sign you shouldn’t rid yourself of stress but rather get better at managing it.
Solutions are plentiful. They come as helpful advice: eat better, exercise more, relax more, and learn how to say “No!” Although useful and critical to an overall strategy, these recommendations do nothing to prop the skills required to develop a strong reaction to any stressful situation.
Yes, stress can be harmful. But then again, it’s up to you.
In this article, you’ll see how you gain stress as a positive force in your life. How to use it (as others have done) to help you achieve your objectives.
In fact, you may even come to welcome and celebrate stress. Imagine you being able to say, “I’m so stressed-out…I’m unbeatable!”
Their findings were unsettling. Almost two-thirds of the discharged employees suffered severe health problems (including heart attack, stroke, obesity, depression, substance abuse and poor performance). The other one-third not only thrived but also maintained their health and felt renewed energy and motivation. WOW!
This study got me wondering. Can a change in attitude make such a difference?
And here science says, “Absolutely!”
Those who thrived had in common three fundamental beliefs that helped them to turn adversity into advantage. These beliefs, according to the researchers, “appear to interact together to motivate coping behaviors that help them to manage change.” (1)
Maddi coined these three CharaCteristiCs as the “3 C’s” of hardness (or resilience). Since Maddi’s original work, hundreds of research studies have confirmed the unique buffering nature of these “3 C’s.” (2)
- CHALLENGE: This optimistic, challenging attitude allowed employees in the study to stay motivated. They engaged in peak performance, leadership, and health-enhancing thoughts and behaviors. The “half-full glass” as opposed to “half-empty glass” characterized their attitude. This shift in perception encompasses risk-taking, prompt adapting to change, and delving into your life and its adversities with a “give-it-your-best-shot” attitude. This approach helped them to sprout from positive and negative life experiences. For them, change is an active and influential characteristic of life.
- COMMITMENT: The success group embarked on finding meaningful purpose in their lives. This behavior set them apart from the two-thirds who suffered wellness breakdowns and felt detached and isolated. They felt important and worthwhile enough to take up work tasks despite their difficult They gave activities their best effort, not being perfect. Going through a change in a committed, meaningful way is the second primary anchor in this “resilience” triad.
- CONTROL: The success group felt ‘internal’ control over the unexpected event and determined to change the outcome of the grim situation. The other group felt ‘external’ control from outside forces and lapsed into helplessness and passivity. Would you say there’s a connection between your attitude and its consequences? Julian Rotter, an influential behaviorist in psychology, stated, “Individuals can change their tendency to view events from an internal versus an external locus of control.” (3)
Now that you know the ‘3 C’s,’ let’s uncover how you can develop them. And we will do that in my next post.
Until then, my best to you and your health.