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Find Benefit

 

Techniques Happiness > Find Benefit

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

When things go wrong or you are feeling stressed, look for the benefits and good things about the situation. When you are suffering, these may not be immediately apparent, but with a little thought it is surprising what can be identified.

Some examples include:

  • A serious illness that forces a person who has been over-working to take a good rest.
  • A rejection that reminds a person to be grateful for what they have.
  • A failure at work that gives the person the chance to learn and show their fortitude.
  • Losing one's job being seen as an opportunity to go back to education or do the things you always wanted to do.

Discussion

A common saying is 'Every cloud has a silver lining', which embodies the principle of this method.

Taylor (1983) described Cognitive Adaptation as the process of finding benefits in situations of chronic stress (such as finding one has a terminal illness), as a process of coping and making life more tolerable, even if benefits are illusory.

Tennen and Affleck (2002) coined the term 'Benefit Finding' in their research where they asked people about a time when were offended. Some were asked how angry they were and others were asked about the positive lessons they learned. Even a few minutes reflecting on the benefits seemed to have lasting effects on their mood.

See also

Positive Writing, Noticing and Linking

 

Taylor S.E. (1983). Adjustment to Threatening Events: A theory of cognitive adaptation. American Psychologist. 38, 11, 1161–1173.

Tennen H., and Affleck G. (2002). Benefit-finding and benefit-reminding. In: Snyder CR, Lopez SJ, editors. The handbook of positive psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.

 

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