For all except the very fortunate few, life is full of ups and downs. In a new study, Spanish researchers found that learning to cope with the down times is integral to life satisfaction.
Individuals respond to adverse situations in a variety of ways. Some never recover from a traumatic event, such as the loss of a spouse or child, while a majority slog through the dark hours of intense negative emotions (anxiety, depression) and eventually move on with their life, gradually adapting to a new status quo.
However, a third group is made up of individuals whose adversities have made them grow personally and whose life takes on new meaning, making them feel stronger than before.
Researchers at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona surveyed 254 students to determine their level of satisfaction with life.
The investigators also looked to find connections between an individual’s resilience and their capacity of emotional recovery – the ability to control one’s emotions – and a component of emotional intelligence.
Investigators discovered that the 20 percent of students who were more resilient were also more satisfied with their lives. This group also believed they have control over their emotions and their state of mind.
As such, researchers posit that an individual’s capability to bounce back from stress and adversity, their resilience, has a positive prediction effect on the level of satisfaction with one’s life.
The good news is that resiliency is not an innate characteristic, rather a skill that can be developed and improved.
“Some of the characteristics of being resilient can be worked on and improved, such as self-esteem and being able to regulate one’s emotions. Learning these techniques can offer people the resources needed to help them adapt and improve their quality of life,” said Dr. Joaquín T Limonero, coordinator of the research.