Healthy Personality: Ability to Adapt Change and Handle Stress
The road to a healthy personality is like a road itself. It has many curves and blind corners. Ones ability to adapt to this constantly changing road is one of the most important components of a healthy personality. That is, the ability to adapt to a changing world. Another important component is the ability to handle stress. We are just beginning to find out what stress does to our bodies and minds, and most of it is not good. Some other components I will discuss are having a good self-concept and everything that encompasses self . Our world is constantly changing and putting different pressures and demands on us.
We have to adapt to many new kinds of stressors resulting from evolution alone. Time is changing constantly and that brings on new situations we need to cope with. When a person can adapt well, they have less stress and in general have a healthier personality. Adapting gives us the means to survive. It provides us with shelter, food, and a competitive edge. Without these things its hard to survive. There are people like this too. Some people, whether it be circumstantial or relative, just do not have what it takes to make it these days. These people usually do not have a healthy personality.
It would be hard to even think about what a healthy personality is like. The ability to adapt gives us access to the resources needed for lives essential biological needs, which in turn allows us to think deeper about our state of mind and relationships with others. The way we handle stress and how we react to it plays a big role in the development of a healthy personality. To go out into the world not prepared to handle stress would be like going into war with no ammo in the guns. You would not last very long in either situation. There is no denying the fact that all of have stress to deal with.
I’m not going to tell you or anyone else what I’m going through. You don’t need to hear it and I don’t like hearing it from other people. What it comes down to is how one deals with their individual stressors. Psychological hardiness comes into play here. If you are a psychologically hardy person, stress may be a foreign word to you. On the other hand if you are not a psychologically hardy person you will have a very good idea of what stress is. Psychological hardiness, to me, is the act of actively knowing you have stress and using three simple guidelines to deal with that stress.
Those three are commitment, control, and challenge. These three things are very important in stress management. Especially in comparison to other ways of stress management like substance use, withdrawal, or defense mechanisms. While these things temporarily relieve the effects of stress they usually are short lived or have negative consequences attached to them. If you commit yourself to do something you are actively staying involved in that activity. This helps you to set goals and achieve them. Challenge is taking a stressful situation and turning it into a challenge instead of some situation you just have to deal with.
When you take on something it doesn’t quite seem the same as a stressful situation. The situation may be very stressful, it’s all about the attitude one takes on before going into a certain situation. Finally control can aid in stress relief. When people feel that they are in control they have an easier time dealing with whatever situation they are in. If you feel that you are in charge of your life and the decisions you make and the attitudes you take on are your own you will have an easier time dealing with stress. These are not the only ways of dealing with stress.
There is Albert Ellis’s concept of controlling stressful thoughts. Ellis says that what we think is directly correlated to what we feel. His theory includes concepts like catastrophizing thoughts and irrational beliefs. These things are hard to detect, but I think we all do them. Irrational beliefs and catastrophizing thoughts are negative feelings about situations you feel stress in. An example would be thinking you have to act a certain way to get the approval of others in a social setting, or thinking that there is nothing that you could possibly do in a situation.
The main point in dealing with stress that Ellis is trying to make is realizing that we all have these negative thoughts and beliefs. When something happens to us, Ellis called this event the activating event, we have consequences that follow. In between those two events is when the belief or thought will take place. An example would be if you lose your job, activating event, you will have negative consequences. A lot of people would add in a catastrophizing thought like “that job was everything to me” or “I’ll never find a job as good as that one”.
When we do that it makes it easier to look at our failures and concentrate on them instead of trying to fix them. It also makes it easier to become depressed or anxious. People get in the habit of using these beliefs and thoughts over time and have a hard time breaking there habits. My final component to a healthy personality is a collaboration of several different theories. They all have to do with how we perceive ourselves and how we feel about ourselves. Individual theories that will be discussed are self perception, the self concept, self esteem, and ideal self.
I feel that all of these things are closely related and tied together very intricately. They are reflected within each other and none could really be complete without the others. Self perception is an ongoing and constantly changing view of what we are. It can be broken down into three major components, they are: the physical self, the social self, and the personal self. The physical self is the bodies we walk around in and the unique features each of them possess. Our physical appearance has an enormous effect on a healthy personality. Some people tower over others and some, like me, wish they had a few more inches.
Some people are physically more beautiful than other people, and in turn get more attention for their appearance. Other people are ridiculed for their appearance. How people deal with their physical self has a lot to do with a healthy personality. For example if a young girl really wants to be a model, but is not cut out to be one, the realization that she will not be a model will have a profound effect on her personality. Perhaps she will take on negative attitudes about her body and appearance. Maybe those attitudes will develop into false beliefs that people, including her, are somehow not as valuable unless they are beautiful.
You can also look at it from the other end, perhaps a very beautiful young lady develops negative feelings about unattractive people. And those feelings develop into beliefs that she is better than everyone else and the most beautiful person on earth. How we deal with the fact that we are constantly being judged and evaluated on our physical appearance has a profound effect on personality. The social self is the many different masks and roles we play in social and home settings. You might play the role of a sophisticated gentleman at a fancy Christmas party, or the role of a brother, sister, mother, father, or child within a household.
How we use these different roles and masks has an effect on our personality. What if you went to fancy Christmas parties in wholly jeans and a t-shirt? You would probably be looked down upon. And if you did that all the time, that is use the wrong social masks in the wrong situation, it would affect your personality negatively. The personal self is the part of you that nobody else knows. It is the constantly changing feeling of being yourself, with always changing emotions, attitudes, and feelings. The personal self includes our names and self concept.
Our names do have a small effect on our personality. They can change others perception of us, which can lead to many different things, but for the most part peoples names do not have a profound impact on personality. A self concept is an impression or concept of yourself. It is a collaboration of personal traits you feel are important, and your own impression on how you stack up to these traits. Your self concept can have positive and negative impacts on your personality. If you have a very rigid view on what values you should have and you do not live up to them you could consider yourself not worthy.
It can lower your self esteem, which is another closely related concept. Self esteem is approving of yourself. It is respecting yourself as a valuable person. Self esteem is said to form in childhood when parents either show conditional or unconditional love. This can have a profound affect on personality. People with lower self esteem tend to be depressed more and are shown to be more susceptible to suicide. Flip side of the story, people with high self esteem tend to live happier lives with overall healthier personalities. Concepts of how we ought to be is our ideal selves.
This is all the traits we think we should be full of. Things like compassion, honesty, or it can be things like physical appearance, height, and hair color. The closer we actually are to what we think we should be correlates to ones self esteem. That is, the closer we are, the higher our self esteem. If we think we are not up to par with ourselves it can lower self esteem. Our concept of self is a very intricate and delicate web of emotions and outside pressures we need to keep tabs on. The concepts in this essay are a lot like car accessaries.
You can add new shiny paint to show of its physical appearance and you can add snow tires to adapt to different road conditions in the future. What we do to our vehicles that we have is up to us. We have the innate ability to change our surroundings and ourselves. That is why a lot of these components are related. If we feel like we have low self esteem we can start exercising to feel better, which will in turn allow us to be physically fit. Physical fitness will allow us to feel less stress about being overweight or lazy, and that in turn will allow us to concentrate on adapting to our natural surroundings.