The ability to look on the bright side in challenging situations may be especially helpful in easing anxiety, especially if you’re struggling financially. In a study in the American Psychological Association journal Emotion, researchers found that people who could reframe situations to make them less emotionally difficult reported fewer anxious feelings if they were at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum compared to people with higher incomes.
The researchers theorized that people who are better off financially are more inclined and are better equipped to change an unpleasant stituation rather than adjust their thinking about it. People with less financial security and fewer resources at their disposal may be more experienced at reframing their feelings about the challenges in their lives. The ability to find a silver lining in an otherwise difficult circumstance is known as cognitive reappraisal. It’s a cornerstone of cognitive behavioral therapy, a common form of psychotherapy that focuses on changing the way you think about a situation in order to come up with coping strategies. The idea is that by changing your thoughts, changes in your feelings and behaviors will follow. Though more study needs to be done, researchers suggest that people with higher incomes should learn other coping methods in addition to cognitive reappraisal, as it appears to be less effective for them.