Is it a bad thing to hide emotions?
Bad mood: a good thing!
Everyone knows it and yet nobody really likes it: the bad mood. If you are in a bad mood, you can see everything through grumpy glasses and you usually prefer to stay away from bad-tempered colleagues or friends. The writer Charles Dickens once said: "Nothing in the world is so wonderfully contagious as a bad mood!"
But no one can always be in a good mood and pull themselves together - sometimes we just have to endure the uncomfortable feeling. And we should even encourage that, say experts.
Bad mood: a result of evolution?
Life is better with a positive attitude: You are more flexible, more creative and more popular. And if you always think positively, you will recover more quickly after a serious illness. With arguments like these, the "think positive" wave has penetrated our heads in recent years.
No question - a good mood is a great thing! So why should nature allow such an uncomfortable feeling as grumpiness, if it only seems to harm us? In fact, there is a value hidden behind the bad mood that can only be recognized at second glance.
The Australian psychologist Joseph Paul Forgas explains this using a model by the American anthropologist and psychologist Paul Ekman. This is based on six basic emotions: joy, surprise, anger, disgust, fear and sadness. It is noticeable that the majority of emotions are negative: anger, disgust, fear and sadness are of great importance in evolutionary terms. Feelings like disgust and fear protect us from danger, anger strengthens our assertiveness - but sadness? What is the function of this feeling?
Those who are in a bad mood are more productive
For his study, the results of which he published in the "Journal of Experimental Social Psychology", Joseph Paul Forgas tested the effects of sadness. The psychologist found that people with a negative mood were much better at thinking analytically and were also significantly more successful at convincing others of their opinion. The bad-tempered test subjects thus had more influence than the good-humored test subjects.
The behavioral researcher and evolutionary biologist Gregor Fauma also believes that people in a bad mood are more productive at work: He who is in a bad mood makes fewer mistakes, is more concentrated at work and more critical in assessing than someone who is in a good mood, he writes. The conclusion: a bad mood ensures faster adaptation to new situations. So it helps to get active in order to get out of the unsatisfactory situation again - an evolutionary advantage.
This is also the conclusion reached by researchers at University College London, who examined the mood of people. In the journal "Trends in Cognitive Sciences", the team led by psychologist Eran Eldar argues that mood can help to adapt quickly to new environmental conditions.
For example, if an investor surprisingly benefits from the price of their stocks rising, that fact will lift their spirits. His mood makes him more willing to take risks and more optimistic - and thus immediately pursue an investment strategy that apparently fits well with the current situation on the stock market. If the share price then falls again, his mood will change and he will act less risk-taking, i.e. become more pessimistic.
The mood therefore reflects the extent to which disappointed or overcrowded expectations in the environment are more likely at this particular moment, according to the British researchers. In the course of evolution, man's capriciousness could have led to the decisive advantage of being able to adapt to changes more quickly.
Those who accept the bad mood are more relaxed
If you are in a bad mood, you should let it go. Because allowing negative emotions has a positive effect on your own health in the long run, as scientists at the University of California at Berkeley have discovered. In three different experiments with a total of 1,300 adults, a team of scientists led by Iris Mauss examined the effects that acceptance of one's own feelings has on mental health.
According to this, people who accept their bad mood are on average happier than those who do not want to allow their negative feelings. According to the psychologists, the latter only leads to even more stress that can make you sick. The researchers published the results of the study in the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology".
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