Life has a way of surprising us with challenges we didn’t expect, especially when it comes to our health. Studies show that some people deal with health issues with greater resiliency than others. They tend to rebound and take on difficult situations with confidence and hope. If you believe yourself to be strong in the face of stressful situations, you can classify your emotional hardiness as high. If not, you may want to develop and apply the characteristics of a hardy personality to better enhance your chances of successfully dealing with your health crises.

Clinical psychologist Susan Kobasa, from City University, New York, identified three elements to hardiness:

1. Challenge – Resilient people view their “problems” as challenges, rather than as threats. They feel motivated and embrace the setback with a positive attitude and strength. They have strong determination to address the issue and then do something about it. They see change as something to master and as an opportunity to grow.
2. Control – Hardy people take charge of the situation and feel they have some level of control. Because of that, they utilize more effective coping and management strategies that allow for better choices and outcomes.
3. Commitment – The reason why hardy people persevere is because they take an active part in what happens to them. They set goals, apply meaning to their behavior and maintain a strong sense of purpose. Even when things aren’t going their way, they stay committed, keeping their motivation and focus.

What does hardiness mean in terms of your health? Let’s say you were diagnosed with cancer. After the initial shock wears off, what do you do? With determination and drive, you start researching everything you need to know about the disease, including traditional and non-traditional treatments. In collaboration with your doctor, you decide on the best course of treatment and take responsibility for redirecting your thoughts and actions towards healing. You become an active participant in your recovery, rather than a bystander. You challenge, advocate and question everything and stay focused on your goal, which is getting healthy.

By using the three C’s of developing emotional hardiness, you are better equipped to face your adversity, meet your challenges and then deal with them. That translates into not giving up or giving in. It means reacting to the challenge with more confidence, flexibility and qualities that enhance your resistance.

Author's Bio: 

Amy Sherman is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice. She is the author of "Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer's Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life." Go to and sign up for her free ezine and get a bonus list of 75 Stress-Relieving Activities. Amy can be reached at 561-281-2975 or