What is Adversity and How Does It Affect Our Health?

In simple terms Adversity can be stated as being an unfortunate event.

A broken cup or plate in the kitchen, a punctured tyre on the car, a sprained ankle playing tennis, missing the last bus home, losing your door keys, discovering that you have left your money at home when you come to pay at the supermarket check out, a burst pipe flooding your home, or coming home and finding you have been burgled.

In dictionary / thesaurus terms Adversity is defined as the obstacles, barriers, mountains, upsets, challenges, setbacks, afflictions, bad luck, calamities, disaster, misery, catastrophes, distress, hardship, ill-fortune, misfortune, woe, mishaps, sorrow, suffering, trials and troubles that we face in our lives.

Adversity manifests itself in many ways, a close friend is very ill, you and your family argue creating a distance between you, the project you are working on goes terribly wrong, you don’t get the important job you were expecting to get, a member of your family is terminally ill, you get a bad performance review at work, you have to relocate your home or lose your job, your doctor tells you that you have a very high cholesterol level, you miss your flight while travelling abroad, your car runs out of petrol on the way to a very important meeting, you lose a lot of money on a bad investment, you are made redundant from work, etc.

Losing a loved one, experiencing financial hardship, are also examples of Adversity.

Adversity is around us all the time, but it is the way we respond to it that determines if we are to succeed or fail in life.

Your reaction to adversity affects your overall emotional and physical health.

Adversity can cause the, often apparent, mechanical reactions of depression and hopelessness.

Dealing with, and responding to life’s adverse situations will cause you to have pressure and stress which result in possible psychological problems.

And the pressures of life and the related stress, affect the blood pressure, cholesterol levels and the possibilities of heart attack.

Adversity can also weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to disease and illnesses.

People who are optimistic live a healthier life than pessimistic people, because their attitude of mind and positive outlook on life means that they face and overcome the adversity situations with less stress.

The ability to effectively respond to and overcome adversity, will not only reduce the effect it has on your physical and emotional health, it will enhance your performance, which will be seen in a greater focus, increased productivity and you will feel more creative.

Less time will be spent blaming yourself and getting depressed and there will be a noticeable increase in the speed of recovery from the challenges and setbacks that you experience.

You will have a feeling of being in control and will have a constructive approach to how you address the challenges that you encounter each day. You now have more energy and a feeling of empowerment.

And over time it will mean that you will have improved health.

We should not be concerned about, or live in fear of Adversity. Instead we should welcome it as an opportunity to succeed.

The people that experience fulfilment in their lives have had to endure many of the same adverse situations, but because they have a love of life, have had inspirational ideas and had faith in the outcome of their endeavours, they have overcome these adversities.

The ability to transform adversity into a challenge or opportunity is one of the traits that are a virtue of mankind.