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C. What Doesn't Destroy You, Makes You Strong

Narrator: This is Science Today. If the famous Nietzsche quote - What does not destroy me, makes me strong - rings true to you, chances are you're what Dr. Salvatore Maddi, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine calls a hardy person. Maddi helps people deal with stress by teaching them what he calls hardiness skills.

Maddi: A lot of people tell us - well, hardiness - you either have it or you don't. It's in the genes. But you know, that's not really so true. If that was true, hardiness training wouldn't work the way it does and the research is very clear that it works.

Narrator: Hardiness training teaches people the coping and social support skills it takes to deal with stress.

Maddi: Hardy people believe whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger. Our approach comes very much out of that kind of Nietzschian thinking. But what we feel is when a terrible circumstance overcomes you, you only have two options - give up or learn from it. And do something better. And some people actually do that.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.