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Why is it that some people seem able to successfully handle tremendously busy lives that are filled with responsibilities, while others cannot? One person suffers from ulcers and high blood pressure, while another, seemingly impervious to illness, walks around with a smile on his face.

Those lucky individuals who seem to thrive under stress are just "hardier" than the rest of us, say Suzanne Kobasa, Ph.D, and Salvatore Maddi, Ph.D, two job stress experts who studied countless executives on the job to find out what keeps some of them healthy.

But what does hardiness mean? In their book, The Hardy Executive under Stress, Dr. Kobasa and Dr. Maddi say this trait is made up of these crucial characteristics: Commitment, control, and challenge.

Commitment means making the maximum effort at whatever you are doing—involving yourself in it totally.

Control, the doctors write, "means that you believe and act as if you can influence events taking place around you. You reflect on how you can turn situations to your advantage."

Challenge means you consider change natural. Instead of fearing it, you anticipate it as a useful stimulus to your personal development.

Even if you’re not an executive, you can use these characteristics to help you cope with stressful events before they cause enough strain to make you sick.

(From Emotional Health, by Myron Brenton and the Editors of Prevention Magazine, Pub.—Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, 1985, p 7)

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