The concept of “stress hardiness” was developed by Dr. Suzanne Kobasa, based on research that looked at many groups of people who have very stressful occupations. Those who seem to cope with their job stress - in other words, those who have a "hardiness" to it - seem to share three specific characteristics or personality traits. (Conveniently enough, all three begin with the letter C).
People who are high in commitment feel like they are part of a larger purpose, They are therefore able to find meaning in their work, are fully involved in what they are doing and they give it their best effort. In this context, problems are more likely to be experienced as minor setbacks in the larger scheme of things, rather than major roadblocks to the work at hand.
People who feel that they are in control believe that they can influence events and surroundings, that they can make things happen. They have a strong sense of self-efficacy and an internal locus of control versus feelings of powerlessness or feeling like a victim of circumstances. At the same time, they recognize what is beyond their control...and don't waste effort and angst trying to control those things. Instead, they stay focused on their purpose and intent, but are flexible when it comes to strategy, and will alter goals when necessary.
Those who are susceptible to stress tend to perceive difficulties as threats, stress-hardy people perceive such difficulties as challenges. Instead of becoming defensive, they become curious, and begin to look for angles and ideas they may have missed. These people welcome new situations as opportunities to learn, to grow, and to develop on a personal level. As a result, they are able to turn difficulties to their advantage.
There is a fourth "C" that could be added to the list: CONNECTION. Social support plays a vital role in shielding people from the detrimental effects of stress. Those who are stress-hardy are able to turn to others for support when times are tough.
How do you see stress-hardiness? Do you agree with the C's? Is there anything you'd add to the list?