March 1, 2024

How negative experiences can make life more meaningful

Psychological research suggests that going through complex or adverse experiences, such as death, divorce, health crises, or unemployment, can add meaning to life.

By reflecting on negative experiences, people can find greater meaning in their lives and develop a clearer sense of themselves. The ability to self-reflect can also promote the development of wisdom.

Enhancing resilience in the face of stressful and adverse situations

Through a model of systematic self-reflection, researchers at Macquarie University in Australia have found that it strengthens resilience in the face of life’s adversities. Exposure to stressors triggers this reflex, which increases the ability to evaluate problem-solving strategies, task-oriented coping, and resist beliefs about oneself.

Reflecting on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is an effective way to increase resilience in the face of adversity, as it allows you to evaluate approaches to coping with it and the best strategies for problem-solving.

Create a deeper understanding of yourself

A study conducted by Oregon State University in the US was conducted on adults between the ages of 56 and 91, with the goal of understanding how wisdom develops in times of adversity.

Most study participants reported that the challenging experiences they focused on affected their core beliefs and understanding of the world. According to the researchers, people react to difficult life events in three different ways:

  1. Acceptance of the event
  2. identifying a particular value or belief;
  3. Think about themselves and their core beliefs.

Of those interviewed, 13 people simply accepted the event, without questioning the meaning of their lives. 5 participants were able to articulate a value or belief that had not been identified before. For most of the participants (32), the difficult event triggered reflections on themselves, their core beliefs, and their understanding of the world, challenging their previous views.

Research shows that self-reflection in the face of difficult life events can yield positive results, especially when taking a “what not why” approach. He asks “Why did this happen?” It may not be effective because it can lead to superficial reactions and negative feelings, leaving the person stuck in the past. Instead, the What Not Why approach allows for a broader and more constructive assessment of the situation, without external blame and promoting personal development.

Self-reflection can be accomplished by asking “what?” Questions like “What’s going on?” “,” What am I feeling? What is the alternative solution to this situation? and “What can I do so that I don’t get hurt so bad?” are examples of this.

These questions lead to positive self-reflection that can help us deal with the situation and get to know ourselves better.