Happiness and Adversity

A few weeks ago I wrote about savoring the bad to help you appreciate the good.  My example was small potatoes (appreciating the fun Uno cards because you’re comparing them to the regular Uno cards; appreciating your current partner because they compare favorably to a bad ex).  It turns out that this comparison/appreciation thing works well on a more serious level.  A research team polled almost 15,000 people to explore whether a severe negative event in their life (such as divorce or death of a loved one) affected how happy they were now.  People who had experienced severe adversity and worked through it (as opposed to people who hadn’t experienced it or hadn’t worked through it) showed a greater ability to savor the present.  This might seem like a small silver lining when you’re going through the difficult event, but it’s nice to know that it doesn’t have to be a just a blight on your life and can actually contribute to your happiness in the long run.