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Hardiness is a trait that enables resilience and effective coping ability with stress. The level of this “resistance” resource can determine the difference between thriving and healthily coping with stressors to being overwhelmed  and developing psychological problems. Hardiness leads to “intrinsic motivation” and “existential courage”  (Maddi, 2005).  It is positively correlated with physical and psychological health.It also has been associated with continued  efficient performance , good leadership and morale in the work environment, despite the presence of significant stressful circumstances.

Hardiness has three main characteristics named the three C’s- commitment, control and challenge.

Commitment  involves pledging to stick with action plan, being persistent and having endurance and thus also adaptability.   It  involves perusing your purpose, having curiosity and  a need to search for deeper meaning within life’s experiences. It helps to keep confronting, striving and working hard at achieving a goal or relief.

Control – a sense of control originates from the belief that you could create change in your own life and that the actions taken by you could influence the path in which your life is taking.  The sense of control helps to turn negative circumstances into something more positive. A sense of internal control over external circumstance gives confidence, reduces feelings of stress, anxiety, hopelessness and helplessness in the face of trauma or negative life events. It is also about taking responsibility and acknowledging internal and external factors that contribute to the problem, the solution or the successful achievement of goals .

Challenge-Perceiving obstacles as challenges and an opportunity to grow, learn, broaden horizons and develop.  It involved being motivated and prepared for the possibility that the road  ahead will not be easy; changes are to be expected and are normal part of life and thus not feeling overwhelmed when obstacles do occur.

Being hardy thus means that you will rather confront and problem solve than avoid or deny the problems. You engage, explore and are open to new experiences. Challenges are approached as learning and meaningful experiences that could potentially turn to advantages and improvement, rather than only lead to stress and powerlessness.  You also engage in activities that reduce anxiety, stress and further improve your coping abilities such as relaxation, exercise, self- care, seeking support and encouragement.

Being hardy helps to reduce self- criticism and boosts the willingness to choose helpful and constructive behaviors rather than self -destructive ones. There is a preference to perceive mutual benefits, support and collaboration with others rather than perceiving others as a competition or threat.  Being hardy suggests the ability to find a more balanced perspective, a sense of competence and belief in personal ability to reach the goal and cope with the changes and challenges along the process of perusing your goal.

In addition, if you are not hardy, do not despair. Hardiness can be further developed and strengthened by therapy and training. The training commonly teaches people how to challenge their perceptions and offers tools for coping, problem-solving, self-efficacy social support and self-care.

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Maddi,S. R. (2005). Resilience at Work: How to Succeed No Matter What Life Throws at You.  AMACON:NY

Narimani, M.,& Abbasi, M.( 2009). Examining the Relationship between Psychological Hardiness and Self-forbearance with Job Burnout. Beyond management,8,2, 75-92.

Soderstrom, M., Dolbier, C.L.,& Leiferman, J.A.(2000). The relationship of hardiness, coping strategies and perceived stress to symptoms of illness. Journal of Behavioural Medicine , 23,3, 311–28.