A friend of mine is super resilient. When she was unsuccessful in her job interview, the first words that came out of her mouth were the benefits she received as a result of going through this process. “I now know what type of questions they ask” – she said. “I know how to prepare better in the future, and that I am capable of doing this job”.

When bad things happen to us, we may focus on the negative consequences of our misfortune, but sooner or later we start to make the negative situation meaningful to us and our future development. We want to believe that our suffering is not in vain. This is why research indicates that majority of us search for benefits at some point after a negative event, be it next week, next month, or next year. However, when we introduce this activity earlier in the process, it helps us make sense of our life-event and cope better with adversity.

Here is an activity that may help you get there:

Sit down for 20 minutes every day for three days and write only about the perceived benefits of a negative event that has occurred to you. Don’t worry about your spelling, grammar or punctuation.

Younger people can write about such events as receiving a low grade, an argument with their sibling, or getting a note from a school about their misbehaviour. This activity may help them learn from their adversity better and create a habit of thinking this way when future negative events occur.


King, L. A., & Miner, K. N. (2000). Writing about the perceived benefits of traumatic events: implications for physical health. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin26(2), 220–230.

Have you tried this activity? If so, please share your experience.