Experiencing divorce and similar hardships may increase your capacity to enjoy the present, a new study suggests.
An international team of researchers surveyed nearly 15,000 adults. They were asked to indicate whether they had experienced difficulties such as divorce or bereavement in the past, and to say whether they had resolved these issues or were still struggling with them.
The researchers then assessed the reaction of the participants to positive situations which involved enjoyment of the present moment, such as looking at a waterfall or going for bike ride.
People who were still experiencing such as problems as divorce said they did not enjoy the positive scenarios as much as they used to – or, to quote the researchers, they “reported a diminished proclivity for savoring positive events”.
By contrast, those participants who saw their difficulties as in the past said they enjoyed the positive experiences more than previously.
The researchers conclude: “…the worst experiences in life may come with an eventual upside…The present research lends some credence to the notion that bad days might make the good ones better.”
The study, entitled From Tribulations to Appreciation – Experiencing Adversity in the Past Predicts Greater Savoring in the Present, was published in the journal Social Psychological & Personality Science.