While previewing chapter twelve I read of the benefits of stress. Yes, I really did just say that stress can be beneficial. I learned that one of the ways in which psychologists study stress among people is from a perspective of "stress as stimuli." This field of study focuses on what effects particular stressful situations, such as pregnancies or natural disasters, can have on groups of people. The textbook highlighted studies concerning the effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on people's personalities.
Selected American citizens completed character strength surveys before and after September 11, 2001. When comparing the results of the subject's characters, positive strengths such as "kindness, teamwork, leadership, gratitude, hope, love, and spirituality" significantly increased.
There is much that may be learned about stress from these results. I can recall the images of firefighters, the explosions, and Ground Zero that were circulated in the weeks following the attacks. Being young at that time, I can only imagine the magnitude of stress trusted upon our nation's government, families, and citizens. However, it is uncanny how the nation bonded together to combat this unprecedented stressor. This response or "stimuli" to stress was clearly reflected in the results of the strengths survey - proving that stress can indeed produce positive qualities in individuals.