Hardiness & Well-Being: How We Bounce Back Under Stress

We have so many self-imposed expectations about when we are supposed to feel refreshed and renewed: After the holidays, or the New Year, or vacations or when the kids return to school.

But it doesn\’t work like this, does it? Because sometimes the refresh-reset button is far out of sight.

It can feel like being in a thick fog or drifting in a boat without the paddles. Lack of focus and lack of power.

Yet as the saying goes, the only stress-free person is a dead person. So with that in mind, how do we thrive in long-haul stress?

Hardiness: How We Bounce Back in Stress
Dr. Paul Bartone, a US Army Research Psychologist, began intensive research on resiliency in the 1980s. He determined the most distinguishing characteristic to be what he termed, “hardiness.” His work led to the development of the Dispositional Resilience Scale (DRS), which was revised and relaunched as the Hardiness Readiness Gauge (HRG) in 2018.
Dr. Bartone teamed with Dr. Steven Stein (author of the EQ Edge) to author a new book, Hardiness: Making Stress Work for You to Achieve Your Life Goals, which consolidates 40 years of research on resilience and hardiness.

Engaging Your Three C\’s

Hardiness captures how we react in stressful situations, and how we respond to unplanned or unexpected experiences, data and events.

Once thought to be a static personality trait, we now know that hardiness, just like all our emotional intelligence skills, can be developed and encouraged. We can engage attitudes that protect us from the impact of stress on our health, happiness and performance.
How we make sense of stress impacts our experiences. See if you can relate to these 3 C\’s:

Commitment—your ability and tendency to be engaged and see your life as interesting, meaningful and worthwhile.

  • Are you actively engaged and interested in life and its activities?
  • Do you have satisfaction in the balance of your life activities – work, family and play?
  • Do you believe life’s experiences and activities have meaning and purpose?
  • Are you self-motivated to find and support your fulfillment?

Challenge—your ability and tendency to see change, variety and disruption as interesting opportunities to learn and grow.  

  • Do you have an appreciation for and even thrive on variety and change?
  • Are you curious and motivated to explore and go on life’s adventures?
  • Are you motivated to learn from your failures?
  • Do you have an ability to be flexible and adapt to change? 

Control—your ability and tendency to have a sense of agency and the belief that you can influence outcomes in your life.

  • Do you belief you have the ability and the power to influence outcomes?
  • Do you feel a sense of control in your life even in times of stress?
  • Do you have a sense of self-confidence to make choices and bring about action?
  • Do you openly and readily accept responsibility for decisions and outcomes?

Living with Meaning and Purpose

Hardiness isn\’t about who wins or who does it better. Rather Hardiness is about how we live with meaning, purpose and fulfillment in a world and life filled with uncertainty.

For a powerful story of violent loss and how the 3 C\’s can provide a transformational foundation of love, service and purpose, read this review of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish and his book I Shall not Hate.
So our path forward in the fog?  

I am certified in the Hardiness Resilience Gauge (HRG), but you don’t need to take the assessment to gain immediate insight.

Instead, ask yourself: Of the 3 C’s listed, which one am I most skilled at? How has it served me? How does it serve me now? And which one needs further nurturing? Which one, with a little love and care, might provide you some wind—and maybe a paddle—to move forward?

And as you mull this over, remember what we so often forget: we make change through small gains and incremental success. Don’t test the water with both feet.

To all the places you will go and the resiliency that will support you.

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