What emotion takes on average 4 days to pass and why?
Sadness is the longest of emotions, finding one of the first studies to wonder why some emotions last much longer than others.
Compared to irritation, shame, surprise and even boredom, it is sadness that survives others.
The study, published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, revealed that sadness tended to be associated with events that had a major long-term impact on people's lives, such as bereavement.
(Verduyn and Lavrijsen, 2014)
Saskia Lavrijsen, co-author of the study, explained:
Rumination is the central determinant of why some emotions last longer than others.
The emotions associated with high levels of rumination will last the longest.
Emotions of shorter duration are usually – but, of course, not always – triggered by relatively small events.
On the other hand, lasting emotions tend to be something very important.
The results come from a survey of 233 students who were asked to recall their emotional experiences and their duration.
At the extremes, while disgust and shame tended to pass in 30 minutes, the sadness persisted for an average of 120 hours.
Boredom, meanwhile, had a tendency to pass in a few hours, although it naturally seems longer!
There were also fascinating patterns among the related emotions: for example, fear tended to be short-lived, while her close cousin anxiety lasted much longer Similarly, the hot burn of shame passed relatively quickly, but the feeling of guilt tended to stay longer.