Do you ever feel like there is enormous pressure to be in a good mood all of the time? Well, according to a studies on mental health and happiness, it appears that not only are negative emotions a part of life, they’re actually an important part of life when it comes to being happy. How does this work? The logic here is that if you accept and understand your negative emotions, such as feeling angry, frustrated, sad, or scared, it will help you appreciate more authentic happiness and joy at other times in your life. Makes sense, right?
As Susan David, Phd, explains at Health.com, it’s important to remember that even when we’re happy, bad things can happen. As she puts it, “when we’re overly cheerful, we tend to neglect important threats and danger.” For David, this often comes up when people are engaging in risky behaviors, such as heavy drinking or drug use. It can happen at any time when your judgment is poor, however, because you are too swept up in your giddy emotions, however. This is why it’s so important to always have a balanced perspective, and not get too caught up in anything — even your happiness.
Negative emotions can help you think more critically and be more investigative of your self, two habits which are super important to being aware. As David explains it, “Negative” moods summon a more attentive, accommodating thinking style that leads you to really examine facts in a fresh and creative way. It’s when we’re in a bit of a funk that we focus and dig down. People in negative moods tend to be less gullible and more skeptical.”
So, how do you find a balance? This will likely vary for everyone, but it’s so important to strive for every day to be realistic and honest, while also looking for the bright side. Don’t prioritize happiness if it means that you are lying to yourself or putting yourself in an unsafe situation, but also be wary of focusing only on the negative and letting the weight of the world bring you down. As with most things in life, balance is key — and delicate.