Resilience And Positivity Research Paper

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: People, Study, Stress, Theory, Emotions, Skills, Ability, Psychology

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2021/02/22

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore the significance that positive behavior can have on a person’s ability to be resilient in a situation that can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. To explore this topic this paper will look at research studies that have been conducted that have demonstrated the theory of positivity can be linked to increased levels of resilience in people even when they are faced with adverse odds. This paper will explore the meaning of resilience as well as research studies supporting the theory of positivity strengthening resilience and examine if there is relevance to the theories or if resilience is not attributed to a person’s level of positivity.

Introduction

Loss is something that plays a huge role in how resilient a person is. The loss a person experiences can vary over a lifetime and some make a huge impact on people’s life and others make a small impact. Since the loss of something can have an extreme psychological impact on a person how resilient they are can make a difference in this impact. In extreme situations there are some people that can keep calm and not respond the same as the significant amount of the population who would completely lose it in these circumstances. For instance in a natural disaster a large amount of people will not know how to respond and their emotions will take over so there reactions will be driven by this. Other people will remain calm and cope with the stress of the situation and this reaction is known as resilience. People who are not resilient will become greatly overwhelmed in serious situations and this can lead to unhealthy methods of coping with their problems which also tend to last longer than people who are more resilient. Since the people with low resilience have such issues dealing with their problems they will usually require a longer recovery time and have more of a mental impact as a result of stressful situations than people who are resilient. In certain people resilience manifests as a trait that is natural or that they are born with, however in many instances researchers have proven that resilience is a trait that can be taught and learned as well as present itself in very extreme circumstances through a person’s survival instincts (Cherry, 2015). To be resilient does not necessarily mean that a person goes through devastating events without having an emotional response it just means that people who exhibit behaviors of resilience have learned to cope with disasters in a healthy way. There are some factors associated with resilient people and they include close relationships, positivity, confidence, self-management skills, problem solving and communication skills and control over oneself (ants, 2015). Resilient people are thought to be capable of many extraordinary things and one of these things is the ability to use positivity to recover from experiences that can be difficult for others to deal with.

Discussion

One important element described in the research study done by Tugade and Fredrickson is that people that display positive emotionality are more likely to bounce back from stressful situations and show a higher level of resilience. It was noted that this resilience widely relies on the person’s positivity and ability to rely on humour during stressful situations. With this as evidence coping researchers have applied the use of positive emotions as a coping mechanism in stressful situations. Through their research they were able to find that there is a significant amount of relevance behind the theory that positiveness helps people cope in stressful situations. With this is mind the next thing that needed to be determined was why positivity had such a huge impact on a person’s ability to be resilient in stressful situations. To find out if positivity truly makes such a prominent impact on resilience and why this study was designed which was able to demonstrate that there was not a significant difference in the scores that were gathered even if the conditions were altered. In theoretical research there has been a wide array of evidential writing that suggests that people’s resilience is affected by positivity. Some studies are able to support this theory in particular the study done here was able to show a great significance for participants in the positive written disclosure condition experienced a greater increase in positive affect following the task when these scores were compared to the participants who were in the neutral and negative category. These findings suggests there is some relevance to the theory that positivity can help build a person’s ability to become more resilient and that negativity or neutrality are common among people who experience the most difficulty responding to a devastating situation in a resilient manner (Tugade & Fredrickson, 2004).
Evidence from the studies conducted by this research suggest that there is a significant advantage to being resilient when it comes to ones cardiovascular signs. When a person is affected negatively by something there response was able to show researchers that positivity helped individuals recover faster as there was a lessened response in there heart than if they responded negatively or through hostility.For the researchers this evidence was able to support the theory that positivity would also have an impact on a persons psychological ability to cover from stress. There hypothesis was that if the body is able to respond quicker to positivity than the mind would likely have similar results. To prove the validity of this hypothesis researchers conducted three studies. Studies one and two were attempting to produce data that would demonstrate the bodies abilities to be resilient through the use of psychophysiological evidence. Studies one and two did this by using positive praises and emotions to determine if they affected stress levels. Study three was used to see if there was releveance of using the psychological process of finding positive reasons for bad things to see if this would impact a persons stress levels. The hypothesis surrounding all of the studies was that a person who is resilient can use positibity to manage there emotional responses in stressful situations. The results of the study showed promising support for the researchers theory as well as peoples ability to achieve greater health through positivity (Tugade & Fredrickson, 2004)..
The analysis of the studies that were conducted were able to show that a persons ability to interject positive feelings into a negative situation were able to be attributed to the persons ability to manage there emotional response. This was shown through the analysis of there cardiovascular responses as well as there self reports which indicated they could find positive outlooks when faced with an adverse situation. One of the problems with the theory that researchers did highlight is the fact that when a person is in a negative experience it is important for them to be able to know when they are threatened so they can protect themselves and some researchers believe that positive reactions may block this natural selfe defense mechanism. However equally important to note was that researchers discovered through the proof of cardiovascular stress, that dealing with negative situations without positivity is detrimental to a persons physical and psychological health in the long run. Long term stress on a persons heart can lead to serious illnesses like cardiovascular disease. The studies were able to demonstrate that positive thought processes would have the opposite effect and be better for a persons mental and physical health (Tugade & Fredrickson, 2004)..
The research was able to attribute the positive effects of an encouraging attitude to people who are more resilient than others. One argument that attempts to refute the relationship between positivity and resilience would be that optimism is the contributing factor to the researchers results and not resilience. This is known as the Pollyanna effect which suggests that people try to relate to happy thoughts when they are in a situation that is stressful and this can cause them to dismiss serious issues that need immediate attention. As a result they will be under a false illusion and not see that they are in a situation that can cause harm. This suggests that a person who is resilient isn’t stronger, they just do not care and have no concerns when it comes to issues that they should be addressing. The researchers acknowledge that this theory may have some evidence that can support it however they suggest that it is failing to address the definition that is responsible for describing resilient traits. This includes two key points about resilient individuals capabilities:
These two key points make it difficult to attribute the outcome of the research to optimism because they are what makes resilience and optimism two different things. Furthermore the researchers were able to determine that the people that were involved in this study that demonstrated high levels of resiliency were not ignoring the fact that there was negativity. They were aware of the negative things presented they just chose not to let it effect them the same as people who were less resilient. The studies did pick up that these people exhibited signs that they were aware of the negative situation as they were frustrated and anxious. The resiliency came into play when these people were able to also interject positive emotions which helped them cope with the feelings of anxiety and frustration when they were placed in difficult situations which helped lower there stress levels. The researchers were able to take this one step further than indicating positivities great impact on lowering stress levels and show that there is some evidence that this type of response is better for a persons overall health. This was due to the individuals ability to use positivity which benifited there immune health and helped them fight off illnesses. In the end it is suffice to say that the research was able to demonstrate that resilient people are able to recover from experiences that other people would struggle to recover from through the incorporation of positive thoughts.

References

ants, e. (2015). What is resilience? | This Emotional Life. Pbs.org. Retrieved 10 April 2015, from http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/topic/resilience/what-resilience
Cherry, K. (2015). What Is Resilience? (And Why It Matters). About.com Education. Retrieved 10 April 2015, from http://psychology.about.com/od/crisiscounseling/a/resilience.htm
Tugade, M., & Fredrickson, B. (2004). Resilient Individuals Use Positive Emotions to Bounce Back From Negative Emotional Experiences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86(2), 320-333. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.86.2.320

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