Posted on Jan 07, 2014

Does divorce make you stronger? Does it make you happier? Or could it cloud your life for years to come? A new international study has found that while devastating life events such as a death in the family or a divorce can make it more difficult to feel pleasure in the short term, it may increase your ability to live and love down the road.

The study, which was conducted in both Canada and Spain, surveyed 15,000 people about their ability to experience pleasure—such as a hike or a bike ride—as well as their life experiences. Researchers found that while people who had very recently experienced an adverse event reported having difficulty appreciating the small pleasures in life, people who were more removed from devastating events were able to feel more pleasure than those who had yet to overcome adversity.

What can we learn from this study? If you are hesitating to divorce because you think you may never be happy again, you may wish to rethink your choice. And if you are afraid of the proven short-term unhappiness that comes with divorce, you should know that experiencing a tough life event like divorce can enhance the small pleasures after you begin your new life.

The study, titled, “From Tribulations to Appreciation: Experiencing Adversity in the Past Predicts Greater Savoring in the Present,” was published in the most recent issue of Social Psychological & Personality Science.

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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington