Friedrich Nietzsche was right—sort of. Under the right conditions, experiencing some adversity may foster resilience. Adversity, according to the author of the study, can help people develop a “psychological immune system” to help them cope with the slings and arrows that life throws, while those with no experience of adversity may have a hard time dealing with tough times.
The German philosopher's oft-quoted adage, “What does not destroy me, makes me stronger,” was put to the test as part of a national study of the effects of adverse life events on mental health by researchers at the University at Buffalo-the State University of New York and the University of California, Irvine.
The study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that people who had experienced a few adverse events in their lives reported better mental health and well being than people with a history of frequent adversity and people with no history of misfortune.
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I recommend reading Nietzsche