THE old adage of ‘that which doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger’ is now backed by science.
A study of almost 15,000 individuals has proven that experiencing hardship is good for us and can actually make us happier in the long run.
The study From Tribulations to Appreciation, published in the Journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, found that experiencing adversity in the past predicted a greater propensity for joy in the present.
They also presented participants with a checklist of adverse events (e.g. divorce, death of a loved one) and asked them to indicate whether they had experienced any of these events and, if so, to specify whether they felt they had emotionally dealt with the negative event or were still struggling with it.
“Although people who were currently struggling with adversity reported a diminished proclivity for savouring positive events, individuals who had dealt with more adversity in the past reported an elevated capacity for savouring,” the scientists said.
“Thus, the worst experiences in life may come with an eventual upside, by promoting the ability to appreciate life’s small pleasures.”
This article first appeared on ‘ Herald Sun’ on 17 December 2013.