We’ve heard so much about the negative effects of stress that many of us think stress is something to be avoided at all costs. Not so. It may not be stress itself that leads to physical and emotional strain and illness, but rather the attitude with which we approach life in general.

Recent research has shown that people who approach life with an attitude of commitment, challenge, and control are less likely to experience the negative side of stress and more likely to be successful stress managers.


Commitment means believing in and feeling a deep involvement with one’s self, family, friends, work, and moral convictions. Because these people generally have a healthy respect for family and friends, they are more apt to turn to this “support network” to help them through potentially stressful situations.


People who view life changes as challenges to meet and resolve are less likely to feel powerless in stressful situations. Rather than seeing the loss of a job as the end of the world, this person will view this seemingly “negative” change as an opportunity for positive growth.


Self-determination or control, is a third significant factor in successful stress management. People who feel their situation in life is beyond their control are more likely to feel helpless when faced with a new or challenging situation.

Practicing the Three C’s

All of us can protect against the negative effects of stress by adopting a positive, active approach to life. By developing a sense of commitment, challenge and control toward life, you can control stress before it controls you.

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