We know that severe poverty and extreme wealth can cause stress, just as can middling amounts of money. And that many people are resilient regardless of the numbers in their asset column. What's the difference among people?
One piece of the puzzle is provided in an article on stress and wealth from the magazine of Centre for Studies on Human Stress. Using the acronym NUTS, the authors talk about four factors that can lead to stress: Novelty, Unpredictability, Threat to the ego or self, and Sense of loss of control. (NUTS was not created by the article's authors but is oft-used in the field of stress and its prevention.)
Another piece of the puzzle is found in a list of factors derived from a landmark study on resilience. 15 factors that seemed to contribute to resilience in a group of at-risk children were:
- being first in birth order
- high activity level
- good-natured (affectionate disposition)
- responsive to people
- free of distressing habits
- positive social orientation
- advanced self-help skills
- age-appropriate sensorimotor and perceptual skills
- adequate communication skills
- ability to focus attention and control impulses
- special interests and hobbies
- positive self-concept
- internal locus of control
- the desire to improve themselves
It's not just the money (or lack of same) that causes the stress. Promoting resilience seems to be of vital importance, rather than looking first at level of wealth as the portal or threshold diagnostic for treatment or consulting techniques.Gives new meaning to the saying "Dollars to DoughNUTS."
Note (added later in the same day of this blog post): Conclusion from "The metatheory of resilience and resiliency" (Journal of Clinical Psychology), a classic article on resilience:
The metatheory of resilience and resiliency embodies numerous theories in the many academic disciplines. Resiliency and resilience integrates and encompasses most of the theories of life. The resiliency process is a life-enriching model that suggests that stressors and change provide growth and increased resilient qualities or protective factors. The disruptive and reintegrative process describes the "up-and-down" life for most people. Resilience theory that crosses academic and professional boundaries suggests that for reintegration and growth to occur, there is a requirement of energy. Resilience or energy comes from within the human spirit or collective unconscious of the individual and also from external social, ecological, and spiritual sources of strength. Resiliency and resilience can be seen as simple and practical applications to everyday living. Skills such as meditation, Tai Chi, prayer, yoga, Aikido, and other alternative therapies also can be used to access resilience. Resiliency and resilience can provide hope and with practice, increased self-efficacy, for people to have more control and order in their lives and rely less on medications and outside support. Resiliency and resilience are transcending interventions.