Here’s Why You Need to Stop Feeling Bad About Feeling Bad—Right Now

Go ahead, indulge that crummy mood. It's better that you sulk than to deny your negative feelings, says science.

upsetwavebreakmedia/ShutterstockDid your mother ever say you’ll feel better after a good cry? Turns out Mom is right as usual—crying really is healthy. What’s more, letting yourself feel blue and accepting those feelings will help you feel better in the long run, according to a new research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

In three separate studies both online and in a lab setting, researchers at UC Berkeley evaluated the responses from 1,300 adults in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Denver, CO metropolitan area regarding their psychological health and emotional well-being.

In one study, 1,000 participants filled out a survey evaluating how they felt about the statement, “I tell myself I shouldn’t be feeling the way that I’m feeling.” Those who agreed with the statement scored lower on tests of well-being. In other words, letting yourself feel lousy is better for your mind and mood than trying to suppress negative thoughts.

“We found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health,” said study senior author Iris Mauss, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at UC Berkeley in an article on the university’s website.

In a society where the pressure to be happy is underscored daily on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, letting yourself be down in the dumps can be tough. Just remember that true happiness isn’t always what people say it is—here are seven pervasive myths about what it takes to feel happy.

“It turns out that how we approach our own negative emotional reactions is really important for our overall well-being,” said study lead author Brett Ford, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, on “People who accept these emotions without judging or trying to change them are able to cope with their stress more successfully.”

So next time someone tells you to “turn that frown upside down,” ignore them. Embrace your inner Eeyore for awhile.

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