Scientists Say That Adversity Doesn’t Always Make You Stronger

It is said that adversity makes you stronger. There is some truth to that adage, but the meaning of resilience is in flux among scientists, as the adage highlights an evolving debate.

What causes some people to bounce back from traumatic events and crises while others have difficulty dealing with them? Do genes and other inherent traits play a role?

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Studies suggest both play a role, but neither seals an individual’s destiny. Despite different definitions, resilience generally refers to coping with extreme stress. According to the American Psychological Association, it involves behaviours, thoughts, and actions that anyone can learn. Genetics, biology, and life circumstances may make it harder for some people.

“Genes are not destiny,” says Dr Dennis Charney, academic affairs president at Mount Sinai Health System.

Trauma can affect anxiety and fear-regulating brain systems. Charney said a loving family, close friends, and positive school experiences can help counteract the damage. Psychiatric medications and psychotherapy can sometimes help people who have experienced severe trauma.

You can become more resilient by learning from your past struggles:

They Boost Empathy

Leadership and living with empathy are more important than ever. Being empathic means understanding other people’s challenges and seeing them from their perspective. Empathy can be a roadblock if you need to fix another person’s situation.

It Builds Self-Efficacy

The ability to overcome challenges and succeed based on your self-efficacy is self-efficacy. Practising is the best way to improve. Public speaking practice is the key to improving your public speaking efficacy.

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It Can Trigger Post-Traumatic Growth

Post-traumatic growth describes positive change after a significant stress event. Despite PTG, people do not emerge unscathed from experience. Most people wish the event hadn’t happened and may still suffer from the pain. PTG is not uncommon or rare, but it is hard to estimate how widespread it is.