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Counselors Explain Why Adversity Makes You Stronger


Life is tough, especially when you have to deal with adversity periodically. However, that’s something everyone has to deal with at some point. If handled correctly it can make you stronger, but if handled incorrectly it can be debilitating.

The good news is that most people get through these tough times and show up as a better person on the other side. They are stronger, wiser and more motivated than ever. It may seem counterintuitive, but as counselors explain, going through tough times makes you stronger. This is what they had to say about it.

What is adversity?

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines it as a state or instance of serious or continuing difficulty or misfortune. It’s something that can rock your world and shake you to the core. Think of the term as obstacles that arise in your life that are difficult to overcome or difficulties that seem almost impossible to deal with.

Hard times are relative. It can be different from person to person based on socioeconomic status, cultural differences, gender, religious beliefs, and more. For example, a person who makes $ 100,000 per year will not have the same financial difficulties as a person who makes $ 20,000 per year.

Types of adversity

Since people face different obstacles based on the factors mentioned above, it makes sense that there is more than one type of adversity. The financial aspect was mentioned in the previous paragraph. Here are five other types:

  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Physical

Everyone is going to face adverse situations in all of these categories at some point in life. A rich person will have financial difficulties, but not like a poor person. The rich person may have tax problems while the poor person has problems with bills. An athlete can suffer a physical injury that can be detrimental to his career, while a person who is not fit can start to have physical health problems that are detrimental to his life.

Worst kind

Of the six types, the mental is the worst. When you think about it, no matter what category your difficulties fall into, there will be some mental effect from them. Some people break under pressure while others thrive. This is completely mental (with a bit of emotions).

In a sense, one could say that mental difficulties encompass all other difficulties.

Your state of mind directly impacts how you handle difficulties. This does not mean that you cannot overcome obstacles with a weak mental state, it means that it will be more difficult for you to do so. You may need a little help to get over it.

Whether you have a strong mental state or a weak mental state, the result will be the same. Life’s challenges, when you overcome them, help you to be stronger. However, you must overcome these challenges to get there. The next section tells you how.

Ways to overcome adversity

According to author and psychologist Diana Raab Ph.D., the best way to get through hard times in life is maintaining a balanced state of mind. She suggests that a person should become more resilient to overcome difficulties. You do this by accepting difficulties and choosing to overcome them. Resilience is a lifestyle, not something you “do” sporadically.

What is resilience?

Resilience is a term you will often hear when discussing ways to overcome life’s struggles. Amit Sood, MD, executive director of the Global Center for Resilience and Wellness, defines resilience as the ability of a person to resist adverse situations, recover and grow. Before you can build up after difficulties, you must first have the stamina to endure them.

How to build resilience

It seems that some people are just naturally resistantBut their level of resilience was slow to develop. It takes time, strength, practice, and dedication to build resilience. And it’s never too late to start building it.

There are a number of ways, which can best be referred to as skills, to build resilience. However, keep in mind that resilience is only a tool. You cannot put it into action until difficulties arise. In that sense, it’s almost like a catch-22: you need resilience to get through tough times, but you need tough times to build resilience.

Some of the best skills needed to build resilience include:

  • Taking care of your physical and mental health
  • Take care of yourself, especially when you are stressed
  • Believe in yourself and your abilities.
  • Develop excellent problem-solving skills.
  • Have clearly stated goals and work towards them every day.
  • Be a person of action, not a person of reaction.

Going into detail about these ways of building resilience is so much information that it would require a completely different article. However, think of these skills as barriers or support systems to resilience. The stronger these abilities are when difficulties strike, the more they will help your stamina break. They are the basic components to overcome adversity.

How adversity makes you stronger

Now that you know what it takes to get through life’s tough times, you can get to the bright side of those difficulties. At the end of it all, you will find that you are much stronger than you were when the hard times began. You have developed your resilience in the same way that you strengthen your immune system. When the next difficulties come, it’s ready, and you’ll be amazed at how well and quickly you handle it.

There are three areas in which you grow when you face and conquer adverse situations in life (there are more than three, but for this article we will focus on these three). These areas are self-efficacy, the way you view stress, and post-traumatic growth (PTG).


Self-efficacy is your ability to believe that you have what it takes to overcome challenges. Overcoming challenges reinforces your believe in yourself. You improve your “I can do it!” attitude.

Many situations in life are more easily handled when you believe in yourself. It may seem like a simple and abstract concept, but it is scientifically proven that high self-efficacy makes you stronger and helps you deal with the lemons that life gives you.

Stanford University psychologist and professor Albert Bandura 1st coined the term. He stated that people with high self-efficacy approach adverse situations with the mindset of figuring out how to solve them rather than worrying about what could go wrong. In other words, the more you overcome adverse situations, the better you will be at solving them.

How you see stress

You have probably met a person who does not handle stress well. You’ve probably also met a person who handles stress like a champion. You can bet your salary that the stress champion has had a lot of practice dealing with stress.

One of the keys to dealing with stressful situations is to see them as a challenge or a goal, not a disaster. Sure, that’s easier said than done, but overcoming adverse situations is the way to put it into practice.

As you go through stressful situations, you will begin to see them as opportunities for growth rather than problems. When you can view stress in this way, you can consider yourself a mentally strong person.

Post-traumatic growth

Most people have heard of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but have you heard of post traumatic growth disorder (PTG)? Think of this as the opposite of PTSD. Instead of falling apart after a traumatic experience, some people undergo a transformation in which they become a best version of his former self.

This the theory was developed by psychologists Richard Tedeschi, Ph.D. and Lawrence Calhoun, Ph.D. They theorized that people begin to appreciate life more, find more value in life, find more satisfaction in helping others, and much more. They bloom on a person who stops to smell the roses and even to grow some.

This may sound a lot like resilience, but it’s not exactly the same. Resilience is the ability to bounce back, while PTG is what happens when you bounce back. Being resilient can lead to increased PTG.

Final thoughts on how tough times make you stronger

Nobody likes difficulties, but it is the difficulties that make you appreciate the good times. Difficult situations in life define who you are. They show you what you are made of. They make you stronger.

Whenever you are faced with devastating life situations, it can be difficult and stressful, but remember this information that you have read. Go in knowing that you will be better and stronger when you come out the other side. In the words of the famous Napoleon Hill, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of equal or greater benefit.”


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