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Last Page Update 10/8/2018

Providing the Stress Management Support Your Deserve

Everyone has to deal with difficult people, whether they are argumentative, abusive, stubborn, or combative. The question is: how can you assert your rights without creating an unnecessary incident?

In most cases, angry people are screaming to be heard. They want to be valued, loved, and listened to. They want to feel important, but aren't able to express themselves constructively. With the right attitude, it's possible to get past these insecurities and reach an understanding. In this segment, we offer a range of approaches and tools to better assist you in managing your daily stress. Thank you for visiting this stress management segment.

Can You Become Stress Hardy?

By; Dr. Ashraf Girgis N.D. 

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Have you seen some people go through the test of life’s hardships and pass with flying colors? We all want to develop this type of “stress hardiness”. If you’re wondering what these peoples’ “secrets” are, you are not the only one. In fact, psychologist Suzanne Kobasa, Ph.D. noticed this unique type of behavior while she was only a student. Later in life, she finally decided to study it and find out what the “secret” really was (Kobasa, 1979 a & b a Study conducted by Salvatore Maddi, PhD). 

             At the time (1970s), there was lot of stress on the top executives of AT&T; many workers were losing their jobs or being reassigned. She noticed there were two different responses from these executives: some had all kinds of issues and visited doctors more frequently, while others seemed to thrive under the pressure. Since then, there have been more studies to see how individuals can become stress hardy (Funk, 1992), and face difficulties without much damage to their mental or physical wellbeing. Overtime, these skills can be developed and eventually become habit. Let’s look at the findings of Dr. Suzanne Kobasa and her colleagues in Illinois. What they found became known as the “three C’s of stress hardiness”.



1.      Commitment

Many people are committed to a cause at their work or outside work, and feel it is their calling. Regardless of how stressful it may be, they invest more effort in finding ways to resolve the issue rather than giving up or becoming shaken by it. When one is committed to something, they always look for solutions. It leads to the feeling of being in the driver’s seat.

 Most importantly, people who are committed live in a state of mindfulness. In other words, they live in the “here and now”. When we live in the present moment, we forget about the past and future, and our mind is focused on the task at hand. Mindfulness is probably the best approach to any kind of stressful situation. Try to be committed to each moment. Not only will you be less stressed, you will also be more successful at resolving issues and improving relationships (among other things) due to your ability to focus.




2. Control


Maintaining the mindset that everything is under your control is another way of handling stressful situations. Feelings of helplessness are what cause stress, so perception plays an important role. I have written an article about perception here. By changing our outlook, we can empower ourselves and return to the driver’s seat. We feel as though we are in control of the stressful situation. I also teach my clients to utilize positive self-talk in stressful situations. Tell yourself that you acknowledge the problem, but you will find a solution soon.

            Additionally, sometimes performing a small task can make you feel like you are in control. For example, when I feel stressed, I start cleaning my drawers or closet (depending on how much time I have). It is almost as though the mind sees you as the controller once again, despite the fact that the task your completed was unrelated to the problem.  

             Another key concept to remember is that you can only control what you can control. Trying to manage others will only add to your stress.  


3. Challenge

  People who look at stressful situations as a challenge seem to cope with stress much better. Next time you have a problem, why not let go of the “victim” mentality and see it as a challenge?

            For example, ask yourself: if you and your husband looked at everything the same way, how boring would the relationship be (although some degree of similarity is very important in any relationship)? The same goes for work. The beauty of the workplace, home, and big social settings is the challenge that their diversity brings.


Our differences in beliefs and varied perceptions on life are what spice up this world. It makes us look forward to the future as long as we don’t look at it as a threat. Instead, the difficulties we face bring issues to the forefront and make us look at them, question them, and challenge ourselves to find an acceptable solution for all involved. 

        My personal experiences in dealing with clients’ stress has lead me to add a 4th and 5th component in becoming “stress hardy”:




4. Support

Leaning on others in difficult times and seeking advice from those with a differentviewpoint will lessen the pressure of stress on you. It will allow you to understand Relationshipsthat you are not alone; there are others. Seek supportfrom family members, coworkers, friends, members of your religious organization, or just general support groups. This will allow you to deal with your issues in a much healthier way than just assuming you have to deal with the issue alone.

      As a species that has inherited our ancestral caveman DNA, we are encouraged to conduct a social life for our own mental and physical wellbeing. I have written an article how to overcome loneliness here.


5. Spirituality and Religion

 In the “Commitment” section, I touched on the topic of belief. When you look at the stressful issue at hand as your calling, you deal with it with much more efficiency and vigor than you would otherwise.

In other words, believing in a higher power that rules our universe helps us to deal with our problems in a much better way.

            This higher power can be the God you believe in, or some form of energy or karma, etc. Something that makes you believe this stressful situation can be resolved not only by your own hard work and creativity, but by the ultimate control of a higher power. One can do everything in their control to resolve issues causing them stress, but there are powers beyond our control. No matter what we do, sometimes we’re unable to change the outcome, and that’s okay as well. There are reasons for why things happen beyond our understanding. We need to accept that and move on.



This belief can be especially helpful when the stress we face is the death of loved ones, or our own mortality. Having religious or spiritual beliefs helps us to sail through these difficult times at peace, knowing that regardless of what happens on earth, we are here temporarily. Doing our best might not always be enough; we must accept and let go.

Thanks for visiting To schedule an appointment with me, please call our office at (616)-777-0608.

 Ashraf Girgis


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