People who treated emotions this way were happier and less likely to be depressed.
People who allow themselves to experience negative emotions are happier and less depressed, according to new research.
Feeling emotions like anger and hatred at appropriate times is linked to greater satisfaction with life.
This is the first study of this type to find this link between happiness and negative emotions.
This makes sense since positive emotions do not always have “good” results and negative emotions do not necessarily have “bad” results.
For example, love could force a person to stay with an abusive partner.
Anger could help this person leave the violent relationship.
Dr. Maya Tamir, first author of the study, said:
Happiness is more than feeling pleasure and avoiding pain.
Happiness is about having meaningful and assessable experiences, including emotions that you think are good for you.
All emotions can be positive in some contexts and negative in others, whether pleasant or unpleasant.
In general, people naturally wanted to feel more positive emotions and less negative emotions.
About one in ten people, she thought, reported feeling too much love and empathy.
Another in ten said they wanted to experience more unpleasant emotions like hatred or anger.
Dr. Tamir said:
People want to feel great all the time in Western cultures, especially in the United States.
Even if they feel good most of the time, they may still think that they should feel even better, which could make them less happy overall.
The results come from surveys of 2,324 students in the United States, Brazil, China, Germany, Ghana, Israel, Poland and Singapore.
They were asked about the emotions they actually felt and those they wanted to feel.
The study was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
(Tamir et al., 2017)