A new research funded by the National Institute on Aging shows some interesting facts about the way we deal with our negative emotions. The UC Berkely study showed that accepting your unpleasant feelings can be more benefic for you than trying to change them. “We found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health.” senior author Iris Mauss declared.
The research took place in San Francisco and tested over 1300 persons. The results were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The participants completed surveys, based on statements such as “I tell myself I shouldn’t be feeling the way that I’m feeling.”, they gave short speeches for a mock job application and, for two weeks, they kept a diary about their most challenging experiences. In all cases, people who had a more accepting attitude felt less distress than the others. “Perhaps, if you’re constantly judging your emotions, the negativity can pile up” Iris Mauss added, “Maybe if you have an accepting attitude toward negative emotions, you’re not giving them as much attention”
Brett Ford, study lead author confirmed that the best way to protect your well being is to embrace the bad parts too “People who accept these emotions without judging or trying to change them are able to cope with their stress more successfully.”
In the future, the researchers plan to analyze various demographic and cultural factors and see how they affect someone’s outlook on life and emotions. They will also focus on the upbringing and the relation between parents and children, connecting parents’ attitude with the children in order “to predict how their children feel about their emotions, and how that might affect their children’s mental health”.