Monthly Article Archives: May 1999

Stressed Out or Stress Hardy? – Part IIRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

In my last column I continued to describe the attributes of people who are successful in their personal and professional lives by examining the concept of “stress hardiness” as proposed by Suzanne Kobasa. Kobasa articulated three characteristics of what she called the “hardy personality.” Individuals who possess these characteristics compared with those who do not, experience and respond to stressful events in a more adaptive and effective way. I referred to these characteristics of a “stress hardy” person as features of a mindset, a mindset that defines the ways in which we understand and approach life. Not only is it important to appreciate the power of this mindset in improving our own lives, but if you are reading this column as a parent or teacher or mentor, I hope that you will apply this mindset in your interactions with youngsters in your care so as to strengthen their “stress hardiness” as well. There is a reason that I use and emphasize the word “mindset.” It is rooted in my strong belief that people can learn to adopt more hopeful, successful strategies for dealing with difficult situations and stress. Mindsets can be changed; they do not have to be dominated by

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