Read Related: What is Happiness & How Can You Attain It?We have heard stories of people who’ve gone through a an unimaginably rough spot and have even come out of it saying, “That was the best thing that could have happened to me!” While few say that when referring to the death of a spouse or loved one, there are those who can look at a divorce, job loss or other life disrupting changes in a more positive light because of the new opportunities or revelations these events can bring about. This innate optimism does make a difference in each person’s capacity to cope.
George Bonanno, professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, is credited for his revolutionary work studying resilience. As he tells The New York Times, “The fundamental point is that most people are extremely resilient, and we have shown this in studies of a wide variety of events—losing a spouse, a marriage, even a bodily function.” His study found that 60% of the people who lost a spouse showed no self-reported change in well being over time. The same was true for people who experienced divorce—70% showed no change in their mental health. Even those who suffered the most serious distress eventually bounced back psychologically.