Excel At Life--Dedicated to the Pursuit of Excellence in Life, Relationships, Sports and Career
CBT Jealousy Depression Relationships Conflict Self-efficacy Happiness Goal-setting Motivation Wellness Sport Psych

Popular Articles

Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Happiness is An Attitude

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?

Popular Audios

Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

PsychNotes Index

More PsychNotes: Happiness and Well-being

January 17, 2017       

Managing Adversity Improves the Outcome of Happiness
by Monica A. Frank, PhD

student at desk

The greatest benefit from positive emotions occurs when we learn to manage negative emotions. In a research study examining the relationship between happiness and GPA researchers found the expected outcome that happier college students had higher grades. They also found that happiness tended to increase over the course of college as students learned how to manage stress and other negative emotions.

However, an interesting twist that confirms the importance of facing adversity and learning to overcome it is that the benefits of happiness were greatest when challenged. This is not to say that people are happier when challenged nor that overcoming challenges increases happiness (although that may be true). What this research does indicate is that the benefits associated with happiness are greater when a person manages adversity (Barker, et al., 2016).

The researchers found that students' grades were higher during the semesters they were challenged and managed negative emotions/stress than when they did not have challenges but were happy. Happiness combined with overcoming adversity corresponded with the better outcome. Such findings shows that happiness without challenge may not provide the incentive to develop the skills needed for success such as persistence and problem-solving.

Barker, E.T., Howard, A.L, Galambos, N.L. and Wrosch, C. (2016). Tracking Affect and Academic Success Across University: Happy Students Benefit From Bouts of Negative Mood. Developmental Psychology, 52, 2022–2030. DOI: 10.1037/dev0000231

Kindle Books by
Dr. Monica Frank

Recent Articles

Analyzing Your Moods, Symptoms, and Events with Excel At Life's Mood Log

Why You Get Anxious When You Don't Want To

Why People Feel Grief at the Loss of an Abusive Spouse or Parent

“Are You Depressed?”: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment

15 Coping Statements for Panic and Anxiety

Beyond Tolerating Emotions: Becoming Comfortable with Discomfort

Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

Newest Audios

Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training