Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Whatever Does Not Kill You Makes You Stronger

Does it help to know that the adversity you’re experiencing today is going to make you tougher and better able to handle the adversity you’ll experience at some unknown point in the future? I think it might. It’s like working out and developing muscles you never knew you could have.

Consider the possibilities. You’ve just lost your job, learned you have a potentially serious medical condition, broke up with your boyfriend…or all three at once. Just kidding on that last. Something bad happens and you have to deal with it. And you do. You either use a tried and true coping strategy, or you develop a new one to cope.

A recent study showed that having some amount of adversity, not too much but not too little either, does help us cope in future situations and makes us psychologically healthier. It’s like developing physical toughness by lifting weights, but this is mental toughness, or resilience.

Adopting the mindset that the trial of today is going to lead to more strength in the future is a positive attitude that can only serve you well. We learn how to cope with problems by doing so. We learn that we can cope with problems by seeing ourselves do it.

Next time you have one of those situations, ask yourself, how has this helped me grow and be stronger? What coping muscles have I strengthened or developed? And know that whatever does not kill you will, in fact, make you stronger.

Music to be strong by: County Strong, Gwyneth Paltrow

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