The Hardy Personality –’s New Study Reveals Why This Trait Can Make or Break Your Mental and Physical Health

Share Article’s latest study reveals that people with a strong level of hardiness not only view hardship differently; they also get through it with greater ease.

Does stress make you crawl into fetal position?

Does stress make you crawl into fetal position?

If hardy people can’t find the silver lining, they just keep picking at the hem until they dig some out.

Why do some people crumble under minor pressure while others march through major crises with head held high and their psyche intact? The saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” may be a cliché, but it is backed by solid science., a pioneer in online personality, IQ, and career tests, has released its latest research on resilient people. Their study reveals that developing a hardy personality is the key to dealing with stress, preventing burnout and warding off other stress-related health problems.

At the 2010 American Psychological Association Convention, researchers Goldman, Edmonds, Christensen and Kier presented some suggested strategies for reducing burnout in nursing, arguably one of the most demanding job fields. Their presentation highlighted the importance of developing a “hardy” personality. But what does it mean?

The answer lies in three C’s: Commitment, Control, and Challenge (S.R. Maddi, 2006).
1)    Commitment – Hardy people tackle every task in their life, no matter how mundane, with 100% effort. They are able to understand the future payback of their efforts today, rather than getting caught up in the drudgery of the daily grind. Their life has purpose.
2)    Control – Rather than sticking their head in the sand during difficult times, hardy individuals proactively search for solutions. They look for ways to improve their circumstances, even if it's just to make them bearable.
3)    Challenge: Hardships and obstacles are merely challenges to overcome. This persevering attitude helps hardy people view negative events as less stressful, enables them to put things in perspective, and helps them stay motivated.

“Hardiness isn’t something we are simply born with; it needs to be developed and nurtured,” explains Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “Hardy individuals, through education, knowledge, and experience, develop a specific way of viewing and approaching problems. They don’t allow stress to simply take over and overwhelm them. They take a step back, put the problem in perspective, and then find solutions or ask for help. They find ways to channel/reduce their stress level, and use an arsenal of coping skills. In essence, when the going gets tough, hardy individuals get going.”

And get going they do. Queendom’s research on 3237 people reveals that hardy individuals exercise more often, eat healthier, and take fewer sick days. Queendom’s research comparing hardy vs. less hardy individuals also indicates that:

  •     98% of hardy people have hobbies (compared to 50% of less hardy people).
  •     76% of hardy people indicated that even when they have a bad day at work, they still love what they do and wouldn’t want to change (compared to 15% of less hardy people).
  •     91% of hardy people believe that they control their destiny (compared to 26% of less hardy people).
  •     92% of hardy people wake up looking forward to their day (compared to 7% of less hardy people).
  •     71% of hardy people welcome change in their life (compared to 14% of less hardy people).
  •     99% of hardy people believe in themselves and in their abilities in general (compared to 17% of less hardy people).
  •     When experiencing a setback, 81% of hardy people view it as a challenge to be overcome (compared to 6% of less hardy people)
  •     When they don’t succeed, 80% of hardy people are motivated to do better next time (compared to 5% of less hardy people).
  •     When they receive bad news, 55% of hardy people don’t get upset because they believe they can handle it; 44% get upset initially, but believe that they will be able to cope eventually (compared to 7% and 53% respectively for less hardy people).

“The number of ailments that are either caused by or exacerbated by stress is alarming. This is why we need to be able to deal with stress actively rather than simply trying to ride it out,” concludes Dr. Jerabek. “This means changing the way we view stressful situations and taking practical steps to deal with them. What’s really interesting is that hardy people don’t even perceive the stressor to be so threatening to their wellbeing, compared to less resilient people. If they can’t find the silver lining, they just keep picking at the hem until they dig some out. Even if you are dealing with a stressor in the long-term, like a family member’s illness, there are ways to deal with the emotional upheaval, and make the situation more bearable.”

Here is some advice from Queendom:

  •     Make an effort. Even people who are naturally positive, upbeat, and love what they are doing in life have bad days. Those bad days here and there don't stop them from appreciating the overall positives in their lives. If you tend to become pessimistic after a bad stretch at work, fight against the tendency by reminding yourself of the good things. Accepting that every job has ups-and-downs can help get you through rough patches.
  •     Take pleasure in the small victories. Even the hardest occupations have moments when you can stop and savor a job well done, a person helped, or a difficult task accomplished. By stopping for a moment to reflect on your accomplishment, you may begin to feel more satisfied with the work that you're doing.
  •     Fight against passivity or self-defeating statements. We all have established thought patterns and ways of reacting to our environment. That doesn't mean, however, that this is not amenable to change. You can develop a more internal locus of control by being conscious of when you blame circumstances, others, or fate for your successes and failures. Tell yourself that you are the master of your life - you have the power to make or break your future.
  •     Always strive to do better. Don't just sit back and accept the status quo. The path to full self-actualization is a long one, but you can have lots of fun on your way there. Set goals and challenge yourself. Make your goals specific, achievable but challenging, and set a realistic time frame.
  •     Take baby steps. Once you have taken in the big picture, take problems step-by-step - it's much less overwhelming that way. Don't forget to stand back from time to time for some perspective. By evaluating your progress, you can see how these small steps can make a big difference in resolving problems. Sometimes, taking a step back when something overwhelms you can help. Get out of the situation for just a little bit. Do some deep breathing, meditation, or distract yourself with something you enjoy.
  •     If you feel "underwhelmed" by your work, hobbies, or classes, maybe it is time for a change. The days where people stick to one job for their entire adult life are over. If you feel your current work or hobbies are stunting your potential or leaving you bored, consider trying something more stimulating or take it to a new level.
  •     Think about how you will feel about a tough situation in 5 weeks, 5 months, 5 years. Either you’ll figure out that in hindsight, the setback was really inconsequential, or you will realize that you would really regret not doing anything. Regardless, you will gain perspective and motivation to move on with your life - either to fight against the setback or to simply let it slide.
  •     Look at the bright side. In every situation, there is a lesson or skilled to be learned or other positives to seemingly awful circumstances. By looking for the silver lining, no matter how small, you can at least find some meaning in setbacks, tragedies, and disappointments.

Queendom’s Hardiness Test can be found at

About is a subsidiary of PsychTests AIM Inc. is a site that creates an interactive venue for self-exploration with a healthy dose of fun. The site offers a full range of professional-quality, scientifically-validated psychological assessments that empower people to grow and reach their real potential through insightful feedback and detailed, custom-tailored analysis.

About PsychTests AIM Inc
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts. The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by the Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

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Ilona Jerabek, PhD
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